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   Cruise Travel - Cruise News

Cruise Club is a free service, and when you join, you will begin receiving weekly updates including the latest cruise news and cruise specialsWelcome to this week's edition of Cruise News, the best place on the Web to find up-to-date information about cruises. To automatically receive Cruise News via email each week, join our Cruise Club.

For up to the minute news, stop by Cruise Talk anytime to post a message or find out what your fellow passengers and industry insiders are saying about a particular ship, cruise line or destination.


Cruise News - September 18, 2017

New President & CEO For Crystal Cruises
Genting Hong Kong today announced the appointment of travel industry veteran Tom Wolber as the President & CEO of Crystal Cruises effective September 15th. Mr. Wolber brings over three decades of experience in general management, operations, new-build construction and business development to Crystal during the company's most significant expansion since its founding in 1988.

"Tom's proven leadership skills will be invaluable to Crystal as the line takes delivery of four river ships in 2017 and 2018 as well as the first of the 'Endeavor Class' expedition yachts in 2019," said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman of Genting Hong Kong and Crystal Cruises. "His leadership will be key to the finalization of specifications and design for the new 'Exclusive Class' oceangoing vessels. Tom has our full confidence and we look forward to working closely with him to ensuring Crystal remains unmatched in the luxury travel segment."

"Crystal has developed a venerable reputation across the travel industry and my first responsibility will be continuing to deliver the world-class service and itineraries Crystal is renowned for," said Tom Wolber. "I thank Chairman Tan Sri Lim for placing his faith in me, and I look forward to spearheading some of the most innovative new-builds and experiences the cruise and hospitality industry has ever seen in the years ahead."

Mr. Wolber joins Crystal most recently from the Walt Disney Company where he served in various executive roles for 28 years, 10 of which were with Disney Cruise Line where he served as Senior Vice President of Operations. Mr. Wolber was involved in transforming Disney Cruise Line from a Port Canaveral based vacation provider to a global cruise line with itineraries covering North America, the Mediterranean and the Baltic. During his time at Disney, Mr. Wolber assisted with the successful design and launch of new builds including Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Additionally, Mr. Wolber served as President and CEO of Euro Disney, Paris and has held senior executive positions in Disney theme parks and resort operations at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

"Since acquiring Crystal in 2015, Genting has worked tirelessly to expand the Crystal brand by launching two river vessels with a third imminent, an expedition yacht and a private Boeing 777 – certainly no easy feat," added Tan Sri Lim. "Thanks to Edie Rodriquez's leadership, Crystal has successfully launched three new brands: Crystal Yachts, Crystal River Cruises and Crystal Air. We thank Edie for her service to the company, appreciate all of her hard work, and wish her the very best in future endeavors."

"It's been an extraordinary experience leading Crystal to global prominence, and I am very proud of my accomplishments," said Rodriguez. "I can't thank Chairman Tan Sri Lim enough for the confidence and investment to assure Crystal's future with a bold expansion strategy which I've firmly put in place. I'm happy to turn over the reins, knowing Crystal is well served by the incredibly talented and hard-working people throughout the organization – on sea, river, air and land. I look forward to announcing my new endeavor shortly."

Rodriguez joined Crystal as President & COO in October 2013; she was promoted to President & CEO following the acquisition of the company by Genting Hong Kong in May 2015. Prior to Crystal, Rodriguez held senior marketing, sales and business development positions with other notable luxury lines and travel companies.

FEMA Charters Bahamas Paradise
The MV Grand Celebration, owned and operated by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, will be heading to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands at the request of FEMA. The chartered ship will have responsibility for housing the National Guard - first responders as they help to rebuild the lives of individuals and create some structure after the devastation left behind by Hurricane Irma.

The humanitarian mission is expected to start with the ship’s arrival in St. Thomas on Saturday, September 23, 2017 and last through the latter half of December. The cruise line will resume normal cruise operations beginning with the cruise on Saturday, December 23, 2017, with 2-night cruises between the Port of Palm Beach and Grand Bahama Island. The ship has 750 cabins and capacity up to 1,900 passengers.

“We will be reaching out to all of our guests and travel partners this week,” explained Oneil Khosa, CEO of the cruise line. “We feel badly about this 90 day disruption but believe the extensive needs of the St. Thomas people to be of greater importance at this time.”

The island of St. Thomas now must be on alert for the path of Maria, which is a category 5 Hurricane.

Individuals who booked directly with the cruise line for cruises through December 21 can contact Bahamas Paradise’s customer service department at 800-374-4363 to review all the options that are available to guests. Direct cruise line customers can receive a full refund or reschedule their cruise with a $100 onboard credit. Other booked guests should contact their travel providers.

Carnival Fascination Delivers Relief Supplies For St. Maarten
Carnival Cruise Line's announced this week that as part of its continuinjg hurricane relief efforts, Carnival Fascination delivered pallets of critical supplies, including water, canned food and other items, during a port call in St. Kitts to be delivered to the island of St. Maarten which has been impacted by the storm. The donation was made during Carnival Fascination’s current seven-day cruise from San Juan.

Additional Carnival ships will be making similar relief drop-offs during upcoming cruises to impacted destinations such as St. Thomas, Grand Turk, Barbuda (via Antigua) and Key West in the coming days and weeks.

Carnival Cruise Line’s parent company, Carnival Corporation, the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund, and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation are pledging up to $10 million in funding and in-kind support for relief and rebuilding efforts in Florida and throughout the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma. For Hurricane Harvey, Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation have already donated $2 million to support the relief and rebuilding efforts.

HAL's ms Koningsdam Features $4.1 Million Art Collection
One of the most notable features of any Holland America Line ship is the remarkable collection of museum-quality art on board. The line's newest vessel, ms Koningsdam, which launched in April 2016, is no exception. With a collection worth $4.1 million, the ship highlights the talents of leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany, working with art curator ArtLink, and YSA Design to procure a thought-provoking collection of diverse works that complements the ship's design while stimulating conversation.

The result is a floating art gallery with 1,920 pieces ranging in value from $500 to $600,000 that spans the decks, public rooms and staterooms. More than 21 nationalities are represented by Koningsdam's artists, with the greatest number of contributors coming from the Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom. Artists also hail from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, South Korea, Spain and Switzerland.

Koningsdam features artworks in many media, including photography, painting, mixed media, illustration, prints and sculpture. Much of the art curated aboard is from emerging artists and highlights Koningsdam's focus on entertainment, showcasing themes of music, dance and movement.

Ranging from classic to whimsical, a variety of two-dimensional, mixed-media pieces using materials including paint-injected bubble wrap, computer disks on wood, toy cars cast in resin, aluminum wire, cast paper, bamboo and more are scattered throughout the ship. Many of the pieces change appearance depending on the viewer's vantage point, inviting guests to take time to ponder and discuss the works of art.

The largest and most expensive work is the stunning Atrium sculpture titled "Harps" that is based on a concept by Adam D. Tihany, who was at the helm of the ship's design and is regarded as one of the world's pre-eminent hospitality designers. The $600,000 piece is an impressive 7.5-ton stainless steel sculpture that spans three decks.

"Extensive collections of unique and thought-provoking art have always been a hallmark of our elegant on board ambiance, and Koningsdam showcases one of our most exciting and contemporary displays," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "Surrounding our guests with a vast array of meaningful artwork is a natural extension of the cruise experience as art awakens your senses, enriches your perspectives, inspires conversation and crosses cultural boundaries, all the same transformative values of travel."

Additional pieces that carry an impressive price tag include Jason Krugman's multideck "Quad Helix" light sculpture located in the Queen's Lounge that cost $174,750; the custom-designed Swarovski crystal globe made by Dutch design group Studio Job valued at $100,000 located on Deck 3, mid-ship stair lobby; and the $54,000 "Rabbit" by Berg and Meyers nestled in The Retreat, which has turned into one of the most talked about pieces on board.

The large-scale tulip images behind the Guest Services desk on Deck 3 are by a Netherlands-based artist who was commissioned to photograph Holland America Line's Signature Tulip. This unique flower only blooms for a couple of weeks every year, so ArtLink's team traveled to the Netherlands to collect the blooms directly from the only grower in the world of the Signature Tulip, and they arrived at the photographer's studio in time to capture the moment.

Some of the most charming pieces can be found nestled inside special tables at the Grand Dutch Café on Deck 3. Royal Goedewaagen created handmade and hand-painted ceramic buildings that showcase a little bit of Dutch history with canal houses, mills, palaces and Zaanse Schans houses (typical greenhouses from a specific region of Holland).

Dutch artist Peter Gentenaar recently exhibited his work at Paris' famed Louvre, and now Holland America Line guests can enjoy his captivating, two-story sculpture in The Dining Room. Titled "Wings of the Pharao," the piece is made from handmade cast paper, Belgian linen and bamboo, and Gentenaar came on board the ship during construction in the yard to complete the installation.

As he has done for the entire Holland America Line fleet, Stephen J. Card, a British artist regarded as one of the finest maritime painters working today, created two paintings that are on display in the Captain's Corner of the Crow's Nest, forward on Deck 11.

A highlight for many Holland America Line devotees are the historic art objects on display that came from ms Ryndam and ms Statendam, which were transferred to sister brand P&O Australia.

Whether it's a collection of pieces featuring famous musicians or a wooden ship sculpture with a cello for its hull, the art aboard Koningsdam makes up one of the finest collections in the world. Guests can explore the decks inside and out and discover inspired works around every turn.

Canaveral Port Authority Designing New Terminal For World's Second-Busiest Cruise Port
Advancing the Tomorrow's Port Canaveral vision to accommodate future growth for the world's second-busiest cruise port, Canaveral Port Authority engaged long-time partner CH2M to design a new terminal to support its cruise business, which currently accounts for 80 percent of the Port's revenue.

The new terminal will join the Port's Cruise Terminal One, also designed by CH2M, in its ability to serve ships like Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class, with capacities of more than 5,400 passengers. The berth will also strengthen Port Canaveral's position as an in-demand port-of-call and popular vacation destination.

In addition to leading design of the proposed 1,400-foot-long terminal berth, CH2M will provide permit support, dredging, bidding support and construction support as part of their waterside engineering design and permitting services contract.

"With experience on both waterside and landside design of cruise terminals at Port Canaveral, we dive deeper than most when it comes to understanding the relationship between a wharf and terminal," said Gary Ledford, CH2M project manager. "Our multi-faceted design knowledge will aid the Port Authority in ensuring that the wharf and the new terminal function seamlessly together so incoming ships can turn around efficiently and continue their journeys."

Guided by their previous success on every recent major waterfront permitting effort at Port Canaveral, and permitting for nearly all of Florida's deepwater ports, CH2M will assist the Port Authority in securing permits from various state and local agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission.

Said CH2M Global Transportation Market Director Kevin Slack, "We're proud to be a significant partner of Port Canaveral's past growth and are eager to continue supporting the successful implementation of a bigger, better terminal to serve today's largest vessels, and assisting the Port Authority in its strategic cruise and infrastructure improvement plans."

The new berth will support an estimated nearly 4,000 permanent jobs, in coordination with overall modernization and improvement plans, including the Port's channel widening and deepening and new cargo piers.

With a legacy spanning more than a century, including work at Port Canaveral since 1954, CH2M's maritime and coastal engineers lead the industry in developing and implementing modernization and capacity increasing solutions that advance business, stakeholder and community goals.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.19 - 0.58%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 118.80 + 1.15%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.05 - 2.84%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 56.35 + 2.23%
Fare

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What ever became of Cunard's Carpathia that became famous for rescuing the survivors of Titanic?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which cruise ship was the first to offer large picture windows for INSIDE cabins?

Answer - Voyager of the Seas has large picture windows overlooking the atrium of their ship.
courtesy of Bill Thompson, Tampa, FL


Cruise News - September 11, 2017

Hurricane Irma Updates

From Carnival:

Hurricane Irma Update – Sept. 11, 2017 – 5:30 p.m. ET

We continue to closely monitor and adjust our fleet and itineraries following the impacts of Hurricane Irma over the weekend. The safety and security of our guests and team members remains our first priority. Given the path taken by the storm, the following cruises have been affected.

The following cruises have been cancelled:

• Carnival Liberty – Sept. 7 – three-day Bahamas cruise from Port Canaveral
• Carnival Victory – Sept. 8 – three-day Bahamas cruise from Miami
• Carnival Splendor – Sept. 9 – five-day Eastern Caribbean cruise from Port Everglades
• Carnival Ecstasy – Sept. 9 – six-day Bahamas cruise from Charleston
• Carnival Liberty – Sept. 10 – four-day Bahamas cruise from Port Canaveral
• Carnival Paradise – Sept. 11 – five-day Western Caribbean cruise from Tampa

A full refund will be provided to all guests who were scheduled to sail on cancelled voyages.

Guests booked on any of the following sailings who were/are unable to travel will receive future cruise credits:

• Carnival Paradise – Sept. 7 – four-day cruise from Tampa
• Carnival Sensation – Sept. 7 – four-day cruise from Miami
• Carnival Fascination – Sept. 10 – seven-day cruise from San Juan

Guests do NOT need to contact Carnival to receive these future cruise credits as they will be automatically processed.

We remain in constant contact with port officials regarding port closures in South and Central Florida. Given the storm’s impact, we will be shortening the duration of several upcoming cruises.

Guests who sail on the shortened cruises will receive a pro-rated refund of their cruise fare. Alternatively, guests who wish to cancel due to the modified cruise duration may do so and receive a future cruise credit equal to the amount of their cruise fare. Guests do NOT need to contact Carnival as this will be processed automatically.

Below is a list of other voyages currently impacted. Guests are being advised to not proceed to the pier until arrival and check-in times are confirmed on Carnival.com. Additionally, for those traveling on our South Florida ships in the coming days, we ask that you contact your airline to confirm your specific arrangements.

Carnival Paradise – Sept. 7 - Guests on this voyage departed Cozumel on Sept. 11 to make their way back to Tampa or Port Canaveral, depending on the availability of the Port in Tampa. Guests may elect to be transferred to Tampa or the Orlando airport via motor coach, or remain in the Port Canaveral area until we reposition the ship to the Port of Tampa next Saturday.

Carnival Conquest – Sept. 9 - Now scheduled to depart Port Everglades on Sept. 12 on a four-day cruise to Cozumel.

Carnival Glory – Sept. 9 = Now scheduled to depart Miami on Sept. 12 on a four-day cruise to Cozumel.

Carnival Magic – Current cruise (Sept. 3-9 from Port Canaveral) proceeded directly to New Orleans for arrival on Sept. 9. Guests had the opportunity to disembark and make independent arrangements to travel home. Guests also had the option to remain on board and sail back with us to Port Canaveral, where we will disembark the ship as soon as the port reopens.

Carnival Magic – Sept. 9 - Cruise is now scheduled to depart Port Canaveral on Sept. 13 on a three-day cruise to Freeport and Nassau.

Carnival Vista – Sept. 9 - Now scheduled to depart Miami on Sept. 12 on a five-day Western Caribbean cruise to Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

Carnival Victory – Previous cruise (Sept. 4-8 cruise from Miami) arrived into Miami early on Sept. 7. Guests who wished to disembark had the opportunity to do so. Guests also had the option of staying on board and sailing back out to sea with us on Sept. 8 until the storm passed.

Carnival Victory – Sept. 11 - Cruise now scheduled to depart Miami on Sept. 12 for a three-day cruise to Nassau and Freeport.

Carnival Sensation – Sept. 11 - Now scheduled to depart Miami on Sept. 13 for a three-day cruise to Nassau.

Previously affected cruise itineraries include:

Carnival Freedom – Sept. 9 - Departed Galveston on Sept. 9 on a Western Caribbean cruise to Mahogany Bay, Belize and Cozumel.

Carnival Dream – Sept. 10 - Departed New Orleans on Sept. 10 to operate a Western Caribbean cruise to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

Carnival Pride – Sept. 10 - Departed Baltimore on Sept. 10 on a cruise to Canada, visiting Halifax and St. John. Guests may elect to cancel and receive a future cruise credit. Guests wishing to sail will receive a 25% future cruise credit based on the fare paid for this cruise.

Carnival Fascination – Sept. 10 - Departed San Juan on Sept. 10 on a cruise to Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua and St. Kitts.

We will continue to stay in touch with local port officials and provide further updates, as needed. In order to provide the most accurate information, we will inform guests of any changes to our departures no later than 48 hours prior to the sailing date.

Our Business Continuity Plan remains in effect and a wide variety of essential personnel spanning all key areas of the company will be continuing to work remotely and from the company’s facility in Miami. The Miami office will reopen for normal business beginning Tuesday, Sept. 12.

From Royal Caribbean

September 12, 2017 at NOON EDT

We are mobilizing ships and supplies to help people in need. In coordination with the US and local governments we are dispatching ships to St. Thomas and St. Maarten and stand ready to assist Key West, and other locations. Adventure of the Seas made a humanitarian stop in St. Maarten on Sunday and Majesty of the Seas will make humanitarian calls in St. Thomas and St. Maarten to provide supplies and also assist in transporting evacuees in St. Maarten to safety. Additionally, we have Empress of the Seas ready to assist Key West once the impact of the storm is known.

Florida airports are slowly getting up and running. For the most up-to-date information please visit the FAA website at www.fly.faa.gov.

The following sailings are canceled:

• NEW: Enchantment of the Seas: September 11 Bahamas cruise - We are canceling the Enchantment of the Seas cruise due to the continued closure of the port, and the uncertainty as to when normal operations will resume. We are very sorry for this impact to your vacation.
• Empress of the Seas: September 13 Cuba cruise
• Majesty of the Seas: September 15 Bahamas cruise

We are cancelling the cruises on Empress and Majesty of the Seas to utilize the ship for humanitarian efforts in areas of the Caribbean with urgent need.

For these sailings, your cruise fare and fees will be 100% refunded to the original form of payment, and we are also offering a 25% future cruise credit, based on the cruise fare, for a cruise booked within the next 30 days. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call 1-800-256-6649.

The following sailings are being modified:

Allure of the Seas: September 10 Western Caribbean cruise - The new departure date is Wednesday, 9/13 and will sail a 4-night itinerary, with an overnight in Nassau, Bahamas.

Harmony of the Seas: September 9 Eastern Caribbean cruise - The new departure date will be on Tuesday, 9/12 and we will sail a 4-night itinerary to Cozumel, Mexico. To give you additional time to travel to the port, we expect to begin boarding at 5 pm.

Oasis of the Seas: September 10 Eastern Caribbean cruise - The departure date will be on Wednesday, 9/13 and will sail a 4-night itinerary to Cozumel, Mexico.

We know these changes are disappointing, and we are truly sorry for the storm's impact on your vacation. Should you choose to sail with us on Allure, Harmony or Oasis, we will provide you with a refund of 50% of your cruise fare paid in the form of a refundable onboard credit, and an additional 50% future cruise credit, for a cruise booked within the next year.

Given the changes to these sailings, if you are unable to travel and need to cancel your cruise, we will provide you with a 100% future cruise credit, for a cruise booked within the next year. Pre-booked shore excursions will be refunded to your original form of payment, and you will have the ability to book excursions in our new ports of call once onboard.

Given Hurricane Irma's impact to St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Key West, we will be working on alternative ports for future sailings until these islands have fully recovered. All itinerary changes will be communicated with these guests directly.

From Royal Caribbean

Updated September 12th 1:00 PM ET (5:00 PM UTC)

Norwegian Escape is sailing at close to full capacity with displaced guests from both Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Escape that were unable to secure flights back home when the ships returned early to Miami on Thursday, September 7. Norwegian Escape spent three days alongside in Cozumel, Mexico and departed on Monday, September 11 at 5 pm. The ship is proceeding towards Miami and is scheduled to arrive at PortMiami on Wednesday morning, September 13. Due to the devastating impact in the Caribbean from Hurricane Irma, all of Norwegian Escape’s upcoming Eastern Caribbean sailings until November will be altered to a Western Caribbean itinerary. All guests scheduled to sail on any affected cruises will be notified of the change.

Acting as a responsible corporate citizen and supporting the destinations that our ships operate in is a core value of Norwegian Cruise Line. In the wake of this devastating storm, we have deployed Norwegian Sky to St. Thomas, USVI to bring much needed supplies and assist in a humanitarian effort that is currently being organized by the government. As per the State Department, affected US Citizens in St. Thomas should email name, gender, and their last known location to IrmaEmergencyUSC@state.gov.

Norwegian Sky will depart as scheduled on Friday, September 15. Norwegian Escape will depart as scheduled for a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise on Saturday, September 16.

Construction work begins on Costa Smeralda
Construction work began today on Costa Smeralda after her steel-cutting ceremony held at the Meyer shipyard in Turku, Finland.

The new Costa Cruises ship will be the brand’s first ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and the world’s first cruise ship to be broadly marketed to consumers from multiple countries throughout Europe.

Construction of the Costa Smeralda is part of a strategic plan from Carnival Corporation & plc – the world’s largest cruise company with 10 brands, including Costa Cruises – to build seven LNG-powered ships for its 103-ship fleet, starting in fall 2018 when the company’s German-based AIDA Cruises brand introduces AIDAnova, which will be marketed largely to German consumers. Costa Smeralda, which will enter service in October 2019, will exceed 180,000 gross tons and offer more than 2,600 passenger cabins for a total of about 6,600 passengers onboard.

A second ship, sister to Costa Smeralda, will be delivered by Meyer Turku in 2021.

The two new Costa Cruises ships will be powered both in port and on the open sea by LNG, the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel. LNG will be stored in special tanks on board ships and will be used to generate 100 percent of the energy required for navigation and onboard services, thanks to dual-fuel hybrid engines. The use of LNG is a major innovation in terms of environmental impact, as it will significantly reduce exhaust gas emissions, in particular sulphur (SO2), nitrogen (NO2), CO2 and particulate matter. “These ships will strengthen the leadership position for the Costa Group, which is already the market leader in all the major continental Europe markets,” said Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group and Carnival Asia.

“The multibillion dollar contract with Meyer, which also includes two new LNG-powered ships to be built for our German brand, AIDA Cruises, reflects our strategy of constantly innovating our vacation offerings and providing our guests with an unmatched cruise experience.” “The two new Costa Cruises ships are a true global innovation and set new standards for the entire sector,” added Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises. “They will be among the first cruise ships powered by LNG, spurring the development of this green technology, especially in the Mediterranean area, and they will be the world’s first LNG-powered ships that will be marketed to consumers from multiple countries, including Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Switzerland. The new ships will also offer unique services and present a state-of-the-art interior design, serving as the perfect expression of our Italy’s Finest concept, which is a distinguishing feature of the Costa Cruises brand around the world for providing guests with a truly immersive Italian experience.”

“In the last two years, we have had a very intense design collaboration with our customer and the outcome is a really fresh and new design fused with the latest of technology. We are happy to bring our experience with building LNG powered passenger ships to bear. Today is a very special moment in shipbuilding, when all the ideas, creativity, technology and signature design that is going into Costa’s new ships, are finally starting to become reality.” – stated Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku.

Costa Smeralda will be offering cruises in Western Mediterranean, which will be on sale beginning the first few months of 2018.

LNG bunkering will be provided by Shell Western LNG B.V. (Shell), as announced last year. The two LNG Costa ships – as well as two new ships for AIDA Cruises – are part of a multibillion dollar contract signed with the two Meyer shipyards in Turku (Finland) and Papenburg (Germany). The contract with Meyer is the result of a larger previously announced memo of understanding between Carnival Corporation, the parent company of Costa Group, and leading shipbuilders Meyer Werft, Meyer Turku and Fincantieri S.p.A. for nine new ships between 2019 and 2022.

Celebrity Cruises Partners with Public Television Series Moveable Feast
Celebrity Cruises invites guests to dig into the modern luxury brand’s newest iconic culinary partnership with Fine Cooking magazine and its Emmy® Award-nominated Public Television series Moveable Feast – introducing Moveable Feast with Celebrity Cruises.

In celebration of the partnership, Celebrity will launch two Moveable Feast Signature Sailings featuring some of the series’ most talented chefs. Join renowned Miami chef and James Beard Award winner Michelle Bernstein on a 7-night island hopping journey through the Caribbean, departing December 16, 2017, onboard Celebrity Equinox, or escape to Bermuda on a 7-night island getaway onboard Celebrity Summit with James Beard Award-nominated chef Bryan Voltaggio, departing April 29, 2018. On each sailing, guests will have the opportunity to meet the chefs, attend chef-led cooking demonstrations, and join the chefs on intimate, hand-selected excursions.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to announce our partnership with Fine Cooking magazine and Moveable Feast. After all, it’s a show that blends two of the things we love most – and do best – traveling beyond borders to places that will inspire you and creating flavors that will thrill your palate like never before,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Now, we’re combining gastronomic forces to bring you our Moveable Feast with Celebrity Cruises program, a mouthwatering experience you can savor across our fleet.”

“We are excited to welcome Celebrity Cruises as the corporate underwriting sponsor of the upcoming Season 5 of Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking,” said John Boland, SVP and Publisher of Fine Cooking Magazine. “Being able to extend the consumer experience beyond the pages of our magazine and television show to on-board culinary adventures with Celebrity Cruises, brings it to life in a unique and fun way.”

Moveable Feast with Celebrity Cruises infuses Moveable Feast-inspired activities and flavors into Celebrity’s already heralded culinary experience, with a smorgasbord of unique offerings, including Moveable Feast Night in the main dining rooms onboard, hands-on cooking demonstrations, and award-winning Chef’s Market DiscoveriesSM excursions that emulate the Moveable Feast experience, with more offerings to be revealed soon.

Carnival and Company Select Hurricane Harvey Relief Agencies for $2 Million Donation
Carnival Cruise Line, its parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation have identified five non-profit organizations to receive a minimum of $2 million total in support of relief and rebuilding efforts following the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey. Direct Relief, Houston Food Bank, Save the Children, Operation Homefront and United Way of Greater Houston were chosen for their active roles in providing critical supplies of food, water, medicine, shelter and other basic necessities to residents in the most impacted areas. Each organization features an extensive local network providing critical support to people in the region.

"We continue to be inspired by the efforts of so many first responders, government officials, volunteers, neighbors and others in making such valiant efforts to help people who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, which has three of its ships sailing year-round from the Port of Galveston in south Texas. "We hope our collective donation to the five organizations makes an immediate impact for those who need help the most, while our hearts and prayers continue to go out to everyone involved."

In addition to the pledges of $500,000 from Carnival Cruise Line, $500,000 from Carnival Corporation's charitable arm, The Carnival Foundation, and a matching $1 million from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation, Carnival Cruise Line will present guests with the opportunity to donate to relief efforts while checking in for their upcoming cruises. Carnival Corporation and its global brands are also encouraging employees to support the recovery while matching some individual donations.

Direct Relief, an international humanitarian organization providing critical medications and supplies, is working with community health centers and clinics throughout the affected areas, addressing urgent needs including diabetes and high blood pressure. It was ranked number one by CNBC among the Top 10 Charities Changing the World in 2016, and has made over $100 million in medical inventory available to those in the path of the storm.

Houston Food Bank is greater Houston's largest food donation organization and a member of Feeding America, the nation's largest non-governmental domestic hunger relief organization. Houston Food Bank estimates over 80,000 people in the area will be displaced until after Thanksgiving and need assistance. The charity is focused on providing people in need with critical food, water and supplies. Houston Food Bank is also reaching out to help people living in surrounding areas including nearby Galveston county.

Save the Children, an international non-governmental organization and recognized national leader for services to children in emergencies, is providing support in the affected area. Its efforts include distribution of infant and toddler supplies such as cribs and hygiene products and providing child-friendly spaces offering safety and support throughout the recovery.

Operation Homefront provides support to the over 300,000 military families living in the affected area. The charity is focused on providing direct critical support with services ranging from food assistance, home repair, temporary housing expenses, car rental or repair, replacement clothing and baby care items. Operation Homefront has been a longstanding and ongoing charity partner of Carnival Corporation, Carnival Cruise Line and the Carnival Foundation.

United Way of Greater Houston is focused on the region's long-term recovery. It assesses the needs of the impacted communities and address those needs with social service providers. Its initiatives include mental and behavioral health services, supporting food banks and assistance ministries, supporting applications to FEMA aid programs and assistance with home repairs and rebuilding. Its service emphasis is to low-income individuals and families, seniors and people with disabilities.

Viking Cruises Ltd Announces Commencement of Tender Offer
Viking Cruises Ltd today announced that it is commencing a cash tender offer for any and all of the outstanding $525 million aggregate principal amount of its 8.50% Senior Notes due 2022.

The tender offer will expire at 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on September 19, 2017, unless the tender offer is extended or earlier terminated (such time and date, as they may be extended, the "Expiration Date"). Under the terms and subject to the conditions of the tender offer, holders of Notes who validly tender (and do not validly withdraw) their Notes at or prior to the Expiration Date (or who validly deliver a properly completed and duly executed Notice of Guaranteed Delivery in accordance with the instructions described in the Offer to Purchase at or prior to the Expiration Date and subsequently deliver their tendered Notes by the close of business on September 21, 2017, the second business day after the scheduled Expiration Date), and, in each case, whose tendered Notes are accepted for purchase by Viking in the tender offer, will receive cash consideration of $1,047.70 per $1,000 principal amount of tendered Notes plus any accrued and unpaid interest from and including the most recent interest payment date, up to, but excluding, the settlement date for the tender offer. Tendered Notes may be validly withdrawn at any time at or prior to the Expiration Date or as otherwise set forth in the Offer to Purchase for the tender offer.

The settlement date in respect of Notes that are validly tendered at or prior to the Expiration Date and accepted by Viking for purchase in the tender offer will be promptly after the Expiration Date and is expected to be September 20, 2017, the first business day following the scheduled Expiration Date (the "Settlement Date"). The settlement date in respect of tendered Notes with respect to which a properly completed and duly executed Notice of Guaranteed Delivery is validly delivered at or prior to the Expiration Date (to the extent that such Notes are not delivered at or prior to the Expiration Date) that are accepted by Viking for purchase in the tender offer is expected to be September 22, 2017, the third business day following the scheduled Expiration Date. For the avoidance of doubt, accrued interest will cease to accrue on the Settlement Date for all Notes accepted for purchase in the tender offer, including those tendered by the guaranteed delivery procedures.

The tender offer is being made pursuant to the Offer to Purchase dated September 12, 2017 and a related Notice of Guaranteed Delivery (as they may be amended or supplemented from time to time, the "Tender Offer Documents"), which more fully set forth the terms and conditions of the tender offer, and the information in this press release is qualified in its entirety by such documents.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.57 - 2.09%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 117.45 - 1.34%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.11 - 0.47%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.12 - 2.77%
Fare

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which cruise ship was the first to offer large picture windows for INSIDE cabins?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which ship is widely acknowledged to be the first vessel designed solely for cruising? What year did she enter service?

Answer - In 1948 Cunard's Caronia (the second ship to bear the name) set sail. Caronia is credited as the first purpose built cruise ship. Durring her time with Cunard she was popular and well known as the "Green Goddess" for her green livery.
courtesy of Dave in Los Angeles, CA


Cruise News - September 4, 2017

Hurricane Irma Updates
From Carnival:

We continue to closely monitor the path of Hurricane Irma. Given the current projected trajectory of the storm, we have cancelled the Carnival Liberty Sept. 7 three-day Bahamas cruise from Port Canaveral and the Carnival Victory Sept. 8 three-day Bahamas cruise from Miami. A full refund will be provided to all guests who were scheduled to sail on these voyages.

We remain in constant contact with port officials regarding potential port closures in South and Central Florida. Given the uncertainty of the storm’s impact, we expect that we may have to shorten the duration of certain cruises scheduled to depart this weekend. In order to provide the most accurate information, we will inform guests of any changes to our departures no later than 48 hours prior to the sailing date.

Currently, six Carnival ships are sailing on modified itineraries to maintain a safe distance from the storm. These are: Carnival Glory, Carnival Magic, Carnival Splendor, Carnival Pride, Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Sensation.

Guests who sail on shortened cruises will receive a pro-rated refund of their cruise fare. Guests who wish to cancel due to a modified cruise duration may do so and receive a future cruise credit equal to the amount of their cruise fare.

Guests scheduled to cruise on these upcoming Carnival voyages are encouraged to sign up for text alerts by texting the codes below to CRUISE (278473).

Carnival Paradise – CCL1
Carnival Conquest – CCL2
Carnival Glory – CCL3
Carnival Magic – CCL4
Carnival Splendor – CCL5
Carnival Vista – CCL6
Carnival Liberty – CCL7
Carnival Victory 9/11 – CCL8
Carnival Sensation 9/07 – CCL9
Carnival Sensation 9/11 – CCL10

In addition, we are making preparations for a potential landfall in South Florida, where Carnival headquarters is located. The safety of our guests and team members is our first priority.

From Royal Caribbean

September 6, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT (

We are closely monitoring Hurricane Irma’s path and its potential impact to our current and upcoming sailings. Royal Caribbean’s Chief Meteorologist, James Van Fleet, is closely tracking the storm’s progress, and the current forecast is as follows:

Hurricane Irma has passed over St. Maarten, and is expected to pass over St. Thomas today and San Juan this evening through Thursday early morning. Irma is currently moving west northwest at 15 mph, and has sustained winds of 185 mph. New models are now further east bringing Irma between Miami and Bimini.

For guests on the current sailings of Oasis, Harmony and Allure of the Seas, we have decided to delay the return of these ships until the storm has passed. Due to the unpredictability of the storm, we plan to keep all of our guests currently sailing on these ships safely out of harm’s way.

The following sailings are departing as scheduled:

Adventure of the Seas: September 9 Southern Caribbean cruise
Grandeur of the Seas: September 7 New England/Canada cruise
Liberty of the Seas: September 10 Western Caribbean cruise
Serenade of the Seas: September 10 New England/Canada cruise
Vision of the Seas: September 7 New England/Canada cruise

The following sailings are canceled:

Empress of the Seas: September 9 Cuba cruise
Enchantment of the Seas: September 8 Bahamas cruise
Majesty of the Seas: September 8 Bahamas cruise

We are very sorry for the impact this storm has had on your vacation and please know that we made the decision with the safety and comfort of our guests and crew in mind. The cruise fare and fees will be 100% refunded to the original form of payment, and we are also offering a 25% future cruise credit, based on the cruise fare, if a new cruise is booked in the next 30 days. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call 1-800-256-6649.

The following sailings are being modified:

Allure of the Seas: September 10 Western Caribbean cruise
The new departure date will be on Wednesday, 9/13 and we will sail a 4-night itinerary to Nassau, Bahamas. We know this change is disappointing, and we are truly sorry for the storm’s impact on your vacation. Should you choose to sail with us we will provide you with a refund of 50% of your cruise fare paid in the form of a refundable onboard credit, and an additional 50% future cruise credit.

If you are unable to travel and need to cancel next week’s cruise, we will provide you with a 100% future cruise credit. Pre-booked shore excursions will be refunded to your original form of payment, and you will have the ability to book excursions in our new port of call once onboard.

Harmony of the Seas: September 9 Eastern Caribbean cruise
The new departure date will be on Tuesday, 9/12 and we will sail a 4-night itinerary to Cozumel, Mexico. We know this change is disappointing, and we are truly sorry. Should you choose to sail with us we will provide you with a refund of 50% of your cruise fare paid in the form of a refundable onboard credit, and an additional 50% future cruise credit.

If you are unable to travel and need to cancel next week’s cruise, we will provide you with a 100% future cruise credit. Pre-booked shore excursions will be refunded to your original form of payment, and you will have the ability to book excursions in our new port of call once onboard.

Oasis of the Seas: September 10 Eastern Caribbean cruise
The new departure date will now be on Tuesday, 9/12 and we will sail a 5-night itinerary to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. We know this change is disappointing, and we are truly sorry. Should you choose to sail with us we will provide you with a refund of 30% of your cruise fare paid in the form of a refundable onboard credit, and an additional 50% future cruise credit.

If you are unable to travel and need to cancel next week’s cruise, we will provide you with a 100% future cruise credit. Pre-booked shore excursions will be refunded to your original form of payment, and you will have the ability to book excursions in our new ports of call once onboard.

The following sailings are being monitored and we will have further details in our 6 PM EDT update:
Anthem of the Seas: September 9 Bermuda cruise
Majesty of the Seas: September 11 Bahamas cruise
Enchantment of the Seas: September 11 Bahamas cruise

In an effort to give you advance notice of any changes while also taking into account the most accurate forecast information, we will be providing updates on any impacted sailings no later than 2 days in advance of departure.

For all guests currently sailing with us, the Captain and team onboard will be providing you specific updates at 1 pm and 6:15 pm daily, and of course will update you immediately if anything changes.

Should we need to make additional itinerary changes or cancel an additional sailing to avoid the storm, we will reach out to guests directly, as well as update our website and social media feeds immediately. Please know that the safety and comfort of our guests are our top priority and we will continue to provide regular updates throughout the week.

For more frequent updates, please follow our meteorologist on Twitter @JamesVanFleet or visit the Royal Caribbean Facebook page.

Seabourn Celebrates Shipbuilding Milestone for Seabourn Ovation
Today, the world's finest ultra-luxury cruise line Seabourn marked a major construction milestone with a traditional coin and launch ceremony for its newest ship, Seabourn Ovation, at the Fincantieri shipyard in Sestri, Italy. Seabourn Ovation is set to welcome guests and begin sailing in May 2018.

The time-honored coin and launch ceremony is an enduring maritime tradition that calls for a "madrina" to preside over the celebratory events. Serving in this significant role was Jan Stearman, Seabourn's longest-serving female shipboard team member, who joined the company 22 years ago, and a well-known and respected cruise director. Along with Seabourn President Richard Meadows, Fincantieri Shipyard Director Paolo Capobianco and Seabourn Ovation Captain Stig Betten observed the welding of two commemorative gold coins to the ship's mast. Stearman then cut the ship's cord to allow water to flow into the ship's building dock. The ship will be "floated out" from its dry dock and moved to its outfitting dock at the shipyard, where it will undergo final construction until the ship is delivered in 2018.

"Watching the coin ceremony and seeing Seabourn Ovation officially touch the water for the first time today was a very special moment for all of us at Seabourn, representing a significant step toward the further expansion of our luxury fleet," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "Many guests and partners across the travel industry have expressed their enthusiasm for the arrival of this incredible ship following the successful debut in December 2016 of her sister ship, Seabourn Encore."

Following the ship's delivery, Seabourn Ovation will embark on an 11-day inaugural voyage departing May 5, 2018, from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. The ship will go on to spend the majority of her maiden season cruising the waters of Northern Europe, offering a series of seven-day Baltic and Scandinavian cruises between Copenhagen and Stockholm, which will include the line's signature three-day stay in St. Petersburg, Russia. Seabourn Ovation will also sail on longer 14-day voyages, visiting the majestic Norwegian fjords and British Isles.

Like its sister ship Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Ovation is being fashioned by notable hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany with contemporary interiors, modern design elements, and innovations consistent with Seabourn's reputation for understated elegance. The new ship will round out the current planned expansion of the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed fleet.

Seabourn Ovation will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly intuitive and personalized service for each guest on board. The 40,350-GRT ship will carry just 600 guests, based on double occupancy. The all-suite ship will offer a number of desirable in-suite amenities to provide guests with a "home away from home" onboard experience. In every luxurious suite will be a private veranda, providing sweeping oceanfront views and spacious enough for private al fresco dining. Featuring striking design and sophisticated décor, each suite will include a comfortable living area with sofa seating and a desk/dining table; elegant bedding; a walk-in closet; in-suite entertainment options with a wide selection of movies, music, broadcast television and radio channels; and a superbly-appointed marble bathroom with separate bath and shower and luxury bath products, including the new exclusive Seabourn Signature Scents by Molton Brown. A personal bar and refrigerator will be stocked according to guest preferences, coordinated before arrival.

Guests who sail on Seabourn Ovation will also find a number of innovative offerings and programs, including partnerships with a select group of companies and individuals whose dedication to superior quality, exceptional service and consistent customer satisfaction matches Seabourn. These programs include 'An Evening with Tim Rice', the new evening entertainment experience created exclusively for the line in association with Belinda King Creative Productions; Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, offering guests a holistic spa and wellness experience that integrates physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being; and The Grill by Thomas Keller, reminiscent of the classic American restaurant from the 50's and 60's. Exclusive to Seabourn, The Grill is a unique culinary concept for Chef Keller, focusing on updated versions of iconic dishes. Guests will be treated to table-side preparations of Caesar salad and ice cream sundaes, as well as a range of other favorites like premium steaks, whole roasted chicken, and Lobster Thermidor, presented à la carte.

Carnival Corporation Begins Construction of World's First Fully LNG-Powered Cruise Ship
Carnival Corporation & plc marked the official beginning of construction for the first of its seven next-generation cruise ships that will be fully-powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) with a keel-laying ceremony at Seatrade Europe in Hamburg.

Pioneering a new era in the use of low-carbon fuels, these new ships will be the first in the cruise industry that can use LNG to generate 100 percent of their power both in port and on the open sea – an innovation that will reduce exhaust emissions to help protect the environment and support Carnival Corporation's aggressive sustainability goals. These seven ships, with delivery dates between 2018 and 2022, will be built by leading German and Finnish shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku.

Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation, together with Bernard Meyer, CEO of Meyer Yards, Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Group and Carnival Asia, and representatives of three of the Carnival Corporation brands that will receive the LNG ships – David Dingle, chairman of Carnival UK; Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises; and Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises – gave the official "full steam ahead" signal for the keel laying of the first ship of the new LNG generation, AIDAnova, which will be delivered by Meyer Werft Papenburg in fall 2018.

"Today marked a significant milestone in the construction of this next-generation of Carnival Corporation ships featuring our 'green cruising' design, which will be the most environmentally friendly ships in our company's history," said Donald, the corporation's CEO. "We are committed to continuing to reduce air emissions and improving air quality by evaluating both new and established solutions, including LNG. We are proud to be on the forefront of advancing LNG as a fuel source for the cruise industry, and we appreciate our long-standing partnership with Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku. We look forward to the delivery of these beautiful and innovative ships that will help us meet our top goal – to provide extraordinary vacation experiences for our guests that exceed all of their expectations."

"We thank Carnival Corporation and AIDA Cruises very much for their trust and their pioneering decision to implement LNG technology onboard their cruise ships," said Meyer. "The corresponding infrastructure is now being developed at numerous ports – Carnival Corporation has made a decision that not only benefits the environment, but that also is highly important for the whole cruise industry."

Following the introduction of AIDAnova in 2018, Carnival Corporation's Costa Cruises brand will debut the industry's next cruise ship that can be powered completely by LNG on the open seas in 2019 – the first steel-cutting ceremony for this ship is scheduled at the Meyer Turku shipyard in the coming week. LNG-powered ships for Carnival Cruise Line and P&O Cruises (UK) will follow in 2020. Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises will each receive an additional LNG-powered ship in 2021, followed by an additional LNG-powered ship for Carnival Cruise Line in 2022.

Costa Cruises Launches a New WeChat Mini Program to Enhance Onboard Guest Experience
Costa Cruises today announced the launch of a new WeChat Mini Program onboard Costa Asia's industry-leading fleet in China. With WeChat, a leading online social communication platform in China, Chinese guests will be able to enjoy hassle-free mobile payment and enhanced onboard experiences, starting September 2 onboard Costa Atlantica.

WeChat (also known as Weixin in China) is an integrated lifestyle-changing platform for instant messaging, commerce and payment services from Tencent Holdings Limited, a leading provider of Internet value added services in China. As of second quarter 2017, there were over 963 million monthly active users on WeChat and Weixin.

Representing a first in the global cruise industry, Costa Cruises launched the first Mini Program to book and pay for a cruise itinerary on the WeChat platform on August 8. The Mini Program is the innovative feature that allows WeChat users to instantly open and access services inside WeChat without having to download the full standalone mobile app, providing a faster and better user experience. The latest announcement features an enhancement of the WeChat Mini Program to also include onboard entertainment booking and payment, among other functions.

With the new WeChat Mini Program, guests will be able to browse and book specialty restaurants, spa, duty-free shopping and other onboard services through complimentary intranet service, without subscribing to onboard internet services.

"As a pioneer in the Chinese cruise industry, Costa Cruises constantly innovates to enhance the guest experience," said Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Group Asia. "With China being one of the world's leaders in mobile and digital advancements, we see great potential in leveraging WeChat's leading position and technologies to not only facilitate hassle-free payment, but also provide a more immersive and digitized onboard experience for our guests."

As the brand that brought cruising to China in 2006 and the leader in the Chinese cruise market today, Costa Cruises operates year-round in China and has provided cruise vacations for over two million Chinese guests with differentiated products, including its popular "Italy at Sea" offering, through four ships based across North, East and South China. Costa Cruises, along with Carnival Corporation, will continue to maintain its leadership in developing a healthy eco-system in the Chinese cruise industry.

Viking Announces Second World Cruise For Fourth Ship
Ahead of its first-ever World Cruise scheduled for this winter, Viking Cruises (www.vikingcruises.com) today announced Viking Sun will continue to sail the globe on the company's second World Cruise, which will span 128-days, five continents, 21 countries and 44 ports, with 10 port overnights.

Departing on January 3, 2019 on the soon-to-be delivered fourth vessel in Viking's award-winning ocean fleet, this grand journey will mark Viking Sun's second voyage around the world. The ship will spend much of her maiden season on Viking's first World Cruise, which departs from Miami on December 15, 2017. Sailing from Miami to London, the new 2019 World Cruise itinerary allows guests to explore South America and the islands of the South Pacific; call upon ports in Africa, from Cape Town to Dakar; and cruise the Strait of Magellan, Tasman Sea, and Indian Ocean, before concluding in London. As with all Viking itineraries, guests receive a complimentary shore excursion in each of the 44 ports and free unlimited Wi-Fi; World Cruise guests also receive Business Class airfare and all gratuities and service fees, along with an extensive list of added-value included features in their cruise fare.

"We offer itineraries that are designed for explorers, and our World Cruises are the most extensive and culturally immersive journeys available in the industry. Our first World Cruise is 100 percent sold out, and we are pleased with the initial response to our second World Cruise itinerary among new and returning guests," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "Our guests are experienced travelers who want to explore the world in comfort. As we continue to expand our offerings around the world, we will remain true to our guests—with an award-winning fleet design, the highest industry accolades and far more included value than any competitor."

2019 World Cruise Highlights

Viking's 2019 World Cruise visits dozens of celebrated cities, charming ports and idyllic islands in one grand voyage. Guests will immerse themselves in the world's rich cultures during included excursions in each port, while The Viking Way of Exploration offers additional, optional excursions that provide unmatched insight into Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access visits to cultural institutions. Overnight stays in 10 cities allow World Cruise guests to delve deeper into destinations; and Viking's Culture Curriculum offers additional enrichment on board with regional entertainment and lectures, as well as learning opportunities as part of the new Viking Resident Historian program. Full details on the 2019 World Cruise can be found on Viking's website here; highlights include:

• Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Peak of Brazilian Culture—During an overnight stay in the historic city of Rio de Janeiro, guests can visit Corcovado Mountain and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue before relaxing on the scenic Copacabana and Ipanema beaches of the coastal metropolis.

• Port Stanley, Falkland Islands: Islas Malvinas—This remote archipelago, also known as Islas Malvinas, is comprised of nearly 200 small islands and home to less than 4,000 people. Renowned for their maritime history, guests can learn the rich history of the Falkland Islands while visiting the capital, Port Stanley, and experience the abundant wildlife of the surrounding waters including penguins, dolphins, seals and orcas.

• Ushuaia, Argentina: "End of the World"—Perched on a steep hill on the southernmost tip of South America, commonly referred to as the "End of the World," guests can explore the scenery of Ushuaia through excursions to the nearby Escondido and Fagnano Lakes, and the Tierra del Fuego National Park, which was first inhabited by humans 10,000 years ago.
• Easter Island, Chile: Isolated in Mystery—Resting 1,200 miles from its nearest neighbors, Easter Island is the world's most remote inhabited island. Guests will visit the island's famed archaeological sites, including the nearly 900 monumental Moai stone head statues, part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Rapa Nui National Park.

• Milford Sound, New Zealand: Astonishing Landscape—Guests will have the opportunity to sail the breathtaking waterway of New Zealand's Fiordland National Park in Milford Sound. Stretching for almost 10 miles, from the Tasman Sea into a wonderland of alpine peaks, the landscape features monolithic granite walls and waterfalls as tall as skyscrapers.

• Hobart, Tasmania: An Island of History and Wilderness—Capital of Australia's island state of Tasmania, Hobart sits nestled amongst the foothills of Mount Wellington and at the entrance to the Derwent River, and offers guests the chance to learn about its UNESCO World Heritage sites, including historic convict locations and a unique wilderness area.

• Maputo, Mozambique: Wildlife Abounds—While visiting this Indian Ocean port, guests can experience the preserved Portuguese colonial architecture and local markets in this historic city, before venturing to Kruger National Park for an overnight safari and a chance to view the "Big 5:" lions, African elephants, African leopards, Cape buffalo and rhinoceros.

• Cape Town, South Africa: Cultural Riches—An overnight stay in Cape Town helps guests explore this city in-depth. Guests can appreciate the picturesque landscape from the monolithic wonder, Table Mountain, enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting at the Vineyards of Stellenbosch, or stay in the city to witness an array of historic architecture and delicious cuisine.

Viking Sun

Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, with 465 staterooms that can accommodate 930 guests. Viking will welcome three more sister ships in the next two years to its award-winning fleet, including Viking Sun. By 2019 it will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Two additional ships are also on order for delivery in 2021 and 2022. Classified by Cruise Critic as "small ships," Viking's ocean fleet features modern Scandinavian design with elegant touches, intimate spaces and attention to detail. Highlights include:

• All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from 270 sq. ft. Veranda Staterooms, all with private verandas, sweeping views of the destination and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, generously proportioned closets, large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand, unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi and award-winning bathrooms with large showers, premium Freyja bath products and heated floors.

• Explorer Suites: The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer expansive views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category on board.

• Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ships feature a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.

• LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa on board is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 named it one of the "5 best cruise ship spas."

• Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow of the ship and designed to represent the Scandinavian spirit for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.

• The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.

• Dining Choices: Viking's ships offer eight dining options, all with no additional charge or fee—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and a variety of culinary options, and the World Café, which features international fare and regional specialties including a sushi and seafood cold bar—to intimate alternative dining experiences at The Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings, and Manfredi's, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. The Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers, while afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden. Mamsen's serves Norwegian deli-style fare, and complimentary 24-hour room service allows all guests to enjoy many signature dishes in the comfort of their stateroom. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ocean ships offer the most al fresco dining at sea. Additionally, The Kitchen Table specializes in regional dishes from market to table

• Cultural Enrichment: Viking experiences from ship to shore are designed for unparalleled access and cultural enrichment. Viking Resident Historians deliver high-level historical and cultural education specific to the journey, offering invaluable insight in to the rich history of the destination. Guest Lecturers who are experts in their fields shed light on the destination's art, architecture, music, geopolitics, natural world and more. Destination Performances represent the most iconic cultural performing arts of the region—whether it be Italian opera or Portuguese fado. Resident Classical Musicians—pianists, guitarists, violinists and flautists—perform classical compositions throughout the ships. And Culinary Classes in The Kitchen Table, Viking's onboard cooking school, focus on regional cuisine.

• Nordic Inspiration: Even the smallest details take their inspiration from the exploratory spirit of the original Vikings, reflecting deeply held Nordic traditions. Light wood grains, touches of slate and teak, Swedish limestone and fragrant juniper appear throughout the public spaces and Spa. The Clinker-built design of the Viking Bar mirrors the construction style of the original Viking Longships. A Viking Heritage Center provides history and context from the Viking Age. And characters from Norse Mythology are subtly incorporated into the design, providing curious guests with inspiration to further explore Viking's Nordic heritage.

• Sustainable Features: Designed to be environmentally friendly, Viking's ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency and equipment that reduces exhaust pollution and meets the strictest worldwide environmental regulations.

Cunard Debuts Additional 2019 Voyages
Cunard has released additional 2019 voyages today which include a wide-range of North American and European sailings from April until December 2019 across the Cunard fleet. In 2019, Cunard will see the highest visibility of its iconic ships—Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth—on both the east and west coasts of North America in decades.

"The 2019 deployment has the best selection of cruise experiences we have ever offered," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "We are thrilled to introduce new itineraries tailored to the North American marketplace. Now represents the perfect time to experience Cunard."

Queen Mary 2's Expanded Canada and Grand Voyage Deployment In 2019 Cunard's flagship, Queen Mary 2, will make a total of 19 one-way Eastbound and Westbound Transatlantic Crossings, and will make one 7-night Le Havre (Paris) to New York Crossing (M930J) in September. For the first time ever, from July 14 to July 28, 2019, Queen Mary 2 will make a Westbound 14-night one-way crossing with multiple ports along the way. The voyage (M921) will start in Southampton (London), sail to Liverpool, then on to Reykjavik, Iceland for an overnight stay, then Corner Brook and Halifax in Canada prior to arriving in New York. An extended Canada deployment for Queen Mary 2 will see five 7-night voyages between summer and fall 2019, with its annual Independence Day 2019 Voyage (M919) having an extended call in Boston.

In addition, Queen Mary 2 will have an expanded Grand Voyage deployment with voyages 19-nights or longer that will incorporate both Europe and Transatlantic Crossings together as well as New England & Canada voyages combined with Transatlantic Crossings.

Other Queen Mary 2 voyage highlights include:

• Six (6) Hamburg Transatlantic Crossings
• Eight (8) Roundtrip Transatlantic Crossings (SOU-SOU or NYC-NYC)
• One (1) 12-night Caribbean Thanksgiving Voyage (M939)
• Several short break voyages between Southampton and Hamburg

Queen Elizabeth's West Coast Repositioning & European Voyages
Following Queen Elizabeth's previously-announced 27-night voyage from Yokohama, Japan to Vancouver, Canada (Q915), the ship will sail from San Francisco down the west coast of North America through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale and on to Southampton via New York City, Iceland, Greenock and Dublin, completing a 36-night voyage that will include an overnight call in Los Angeles for 4th of July (Q919H).

From May until November 2019, Queen Elizabeth will complete:

• Two (2) 14-night Baltic Highlight voyages (Q923, Q926)
• One (1) 14-night Iceland and British Isles sailing (Q925)
• One (1) 12-night Norwegian Explorer voyage (Q924)
• One (1) 12-night Canary Island voyage (Q929)
• Several short break voyages including a 4-night Amsterdam Short Break voyage (Q927)

Queen Victoria's European Voyages
From May until December 2019, Cunard's Queen Victoria will sail several European voyages which will offer an array of cultural treasures and spectacular destinations to explore. Highlights include:

• One (1) 12-night Canary Islands voyage (V924)
• Four (4) Baltic Itineraries
• Two (2) British Isles cruises (V914, V920)
• Three (3) Mediterranean voyages from Southampton
• One (1) 14-night Iceland and British Isles voyage (V919)
• Two (2) 7-night Norwegian Fjords voyages (V912, V915)
• Three (3) short break voyages including two (2) 3-night Kiel to Southampton voyages (V911B, V918C)

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.97 - 2.30%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.04 - 1.42%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.12 - 2.30%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 56.69 - 2.06%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ship is widely acknowledged to be the first vessel designed solely for cruising? What year did she enter service?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the name of the cruise ship that caught fire during a Christmas cruise in 1963 and sank six days later?

Answer - The Dutch built, but Greek owned, TSMS Lakonia sank with substantial casualties on 22nd December, 1963.
courtesy of Bruce McKenzie, Guam.


Cruise News - August 28, 2017

MSC Cruises and Fincantieri Celebrate Float Out of MSC Seaview
MSC Cruises and FINCANTIERI, one of the largest shipbuilding groups in the world, today celebrated the float out of MSC Seaview. The ceremony took place at the Monfalcone shipyard in Italy, where the ship is being built.

MSC Seaview is the second of MSC Cruises’ Seaside generation of cruise ships, based on a highly-innovative prototype designed to bring guests closer to the sea than ever before, for warmer climates and the ultimate sun and sea cruise experience. She is set to come into service in June 2018, just six months after MSC Seaside will first come into service in December 2017 with her Grand Voyage from Trieste, Italy to Miami, USA in December 2017.

MSC Seaview will sail her inaugural 2018 summer season in the Mediterranean, offering holidaymakers the chance to experience the jewels of this region like never before on a cruise ship. Guests will discover seven different lively ports from four countries, all without unpacking a suitcase - Genoa, Naples, Messina, Valetta, Barcelona and Marseille.

Following this inaugural season, the ship will follow the sun to Brazil and the Southern hemisphere for the winter 2018-2019 season, with an itinerary that includes Santos, Ilha Grande, Buzios, Porto Belo and Camboriu.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, commented: “The float out of MSC Seaview is another significant milestone in the expansion of our fleet. She is part of a ten year investment plan that will have already seen the delivery of six new ships by 2020.”

“At MSC Cruises, we are truly leading the way with our ship designs, as each new class of ships that we bring into service is rooted in meeting the needs of holidaymakers of different ages, demographics and holiday desires. With MSC Seaview, in particular, our vision has been inspired by our passion for the sea and we are appealing to guests who are seeking the classic elements of a holiday – sun and sea - taken to the next level with a one-of-a-kind fully immersive and interactive seaside experience even whilst cruising at sea.”

Mr Vago concluded: “We are already the market leading cruise brand in the Mediterranean and Europe and the deployment of MSC Seaview in this key region will help us further push boundaries by bringing one of the most innovative cruise ships to an area that we are deeply committed to and is a cornerstone of our business.”

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “MSC Seaview is a challenge that Fincantieri is proud to carry out successfully, as demonstrated by the milestone reached today. She is a spectacular ship, the second of a new generation that is testing all of our best technical and managerial skills, considering that the float out takes place less than nine months away from that of the prototype that launched this class of ships, MSC Seaside. These two beautiful ships require a real endeavour and our Group will deliver them to meet the high expectations of the shipowner in terms of reliability and product quality.”

The float out is a key milestone in the construction of a cruise ship, as it is the moment when the vessel is first touched by water as her dry dock is flooded and the ship is moved to a wet dock for the final phase of her construction. The exterior of the ship is now complete and work moves to complete interiors, fixtures and furnishings.

At 323 metres long with a 154,000 GRTs, the ship will feature a maximum capacity of 5,179 guests. MSC Seaview is the second of two identical ships in the Seaside class. Her sister ship – MSC Seaside – is set to enter service later this year in November. MSC Seaview will be the third next-generation ship coming into service in just 12 months, following on from MSC Meraviglia (June 2017) and MSC Seaside (December 2017).

Carnival Horizon to Feature Cruise Line's First Teppanyaki Restaurant
Carnival Cruise Line will introduce its first-ever teppanyaki dining venue when the new 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon debuts in Europe in spring 2018.

Teppanyaki is a traditional method of Japanese cooking whose name is derived from the combination of the words “teppan” or iron plate with “yaki” meaning grilled or pan-fried. Teppanyaki combines ancient Japanese cooking techniques with modern performance art to create a feast that is both culinary and visual.

Located on Carnival Horizon’s Promenade Deck, Bonsai Teppanyaki will offer a wide-ranging menu with authentic delicacies from the Far East prepared by highly skilled chefs who will create tantalizing dishes on custom-built stations that form the center of the venue’s two eight-seat tables.

In keeping with Carnival’s atmosphere of spirited and participatory fun, dinner at Bonsai Teppanyaki will be an unforgettable culinary experience with chefs engaging with diners and dazzling them with their amazing knife skills and other performance elements.

“Carnival is all about providing our guests with a wide array of choices and that, of course, includes a seemingly endless array of delicious culinary options,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president.

“The new Bonsai Teppanyaki promises to be a wonderful addition to the Carnival Horizon, offering delectable cuisine from the Far East enhanced by show-stopping performances by our talented and engaging chefs,” she added.

Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation and Chairman Micky Arison's Family Foundation to Donate $2 Million to Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts
Carnival Cruise Line, and its parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc, and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation are pledging a minimum of $2 million to relief and rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast region in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2004.

Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Carnival Corporation, are each donating $500,000 to Harvey disaster relief efforts, for a total donation of $1 million from the company. Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine are matching the corporation's commitment with a $1 million donation from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation.

To help generate additional relief funds, cruise guests sailing on certain Carnival Cruise Line cruises will have the option to make a donation when they check in for their cruise, while the corporation's brands and employees will be participating as well.

"Our hearts go out to all those who have been impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, and all of us throughout the Carnival Corporation family feel a responsibility to do our part in supporting relief and rebuilding efforts in a region that we call home and where so many of our guests and business partners live and work," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "We are very committed to the Gulf Coast as a vibrant and special part of the North American cruise industry, and our commitment will remain as strong as ever during the region's recovery process. We know this storm is still active, so we will continue to hold positive thoughts for everyone in the region while exploring ways to support affected communities as they recover and rebuild."

Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival Corporation are working together with emergency response authorities, community leaders, and key relief and recovery organizations to identify the most urgent needs and immediate allocations for the donated funds. The donation will be used to maximize positive impacts on recovery efforts and support on-the-ground teams that are distributing emergency supplies and aiding rebuilding efforts targeting the most affected families in the region.

Carnival Corporation's support will help relief and recovery organizations provide families with access to food, shelter, water, hygiene products, general necessities, medicines and healthcare supplies as they begin the relief and recovery process after initial life-saving and well-being needs are met.

Silversea Announces Creative Partnership With Photographer Steve McCurry
Silversea Cruises and photographer Steve McCurry today announced a global creative partnership that will chronicle Silversea's extensive fleet and portfolio expansion designed to take guests to some of the world's most intriguing and remote destinations.

McCurry, one of the foremost photographers of his generation, is best known for his haunting portrait of a green-eyed Afghan refugee girl in National Geographic. A master of visual storytelling, McCurry has traveled the world for four decades capturing vibrant cultures and the human experience. His color-saturated images have appeared on international magazine and book covers, in major gallery and museum exhibitions, and in permanent and private collections worldwide.

Silversea's luxury and expedition itineraries offer guests more than 850 destinations in more than 130 countries on all seven continents, more than any other cruise line. The company's purpose-built fleet features sleek, smaller vessels that can navigate narrow waterways to reach the most secluded ports and destinations. Its newest vessel, Silver Muse, is redefining ocean travel by enhancing the small-ship intimacy with spacious suites that are the hallmark of the Silversea experience. The addition of Silver Muse expands the line's fleet to nine ships, creating a new standard of elegance in the ultra-luxury cruise market.

"Silversea has launched the most ambitious fleet and product expansion in its history, with the goal of unlocking new territories for guests and going deeper," Barbara Muckermann, Chief Marketing Officer at Silversea Cruises, says. "Steve McCurry's artistry and storytelling align perfectly with Silversea's immersive experiences, intimate vessels and unforgettable destinations. He has the ability to capture the authentic beauty in the world, and express it with passion and clarity. We look forward to capturing the emotion and inspiration of global travel through Steve's lens."

McCurry's art has taken him from war-torn Afghanistan to rural villages in India to the collapse of New York's twin towers on 9/11. Since his iconic Afghan Girl portrait in 1984, McCurry has published more than a dozen books; won scores of professional awards including the Robert Capa Gold Medal for his coverage of the war in Afghanistan; shot the last remaining rolls of Kodak's Kodachrome film in a portrait project; and collaborated with timeless global brands including Valentino, Vacheron Constantin and the Pirelli calendar. "You're present, in focus; that's traveling, to me," McCurry says. "It's an urgent need to go and observe this world that we all share."

Even after decades of exploration, McCurry believes he has many more stories to tell. "There's always room for discovery," he says.

Royal Caribbean Teams Up With Shay Mitchell As Adventure Ambassador
Royal Caribbean International is teaming up with award-winning actress and avid traveler Shay Mitchell to be the brand’s Adventurist ? an adventure adviser and storyteller for the world’s most adventurous cruise line. In addition to embarking on inspirational journeys with the brand and sharing her experiences, Shay will collaborate with Royal Caribbean experts to develop a series of destination experiences for the ultimate Caribbean cruise, to be revealed this fall. As a seasoned traveler, Shay will personally set sail on board one of Royal Caribbean’s adventure-packed ships this month to begin shaping the new, Shay-recommended adventures.

“I’ve always had a love for travel, and am fortunate to have been able to explore some of the most amazing places around the world, learning quickly that the journey is as important as the destination,” said Shay. “I’m thrilled to take what I have learned from my own travels and dive in with Royal Caribbean to develop the ultimate Caribbean adventure for travelers like me, who are always seeking something new and craving deeper connections to the destinations they visit.”

“It’s in Royal Caribbean’s nature to seek and deliver the unexpected – the adventures and experiences that make travelers’ jaws drop, their adrenaline rise and their memories unforgettable,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “When we started to think of who could perfectly embody what vacationing with us is all about in our newly created Adventurist role, Shay was someone who rose to the top immediately. She personifies who we are and our spirit – the spirit to ‘Come Seek.’ The ideas that Shay brings to the table will help create an adventure in the Caribbean that will redefine what many think of as a cruise vacation and inspire the next generation of cruisers.”

A star in one of TV’s most popular dramas, “Pretty Little Liars,” Shay’s adventurous spirit has led her to visit some of the world’s most inspiring destinations, from hot-air ballooning over Morocco to skydiving in Dubai. She’s become an expert at seeking out authentic experiences, sharing them with her following of more than 17 million across several social media platforms, including her immersive YouTube series – Shaycation – which debuted in 2015 and gives viewers an inside look at her wanderlust-inducing explorations.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.55 + 0.07%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 120.76 + 0.64%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.17 + 2.84%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 57.88 + 3.62%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name of the cruise ship that caught fire during a Christmas cruise in 1963 and sank six days later?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Many people konw that Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 and P&O's Canberra served as troop ships during the Falkland islands conflict in 1982, but can you name the other former liner that was also pressed into service during the conflict?

Answer - The other liner pressed into service during the Falklands war was the Uganda of BI Discovery Line.
courtesy of Timothy Edgecombe


Cruise News - August 21, 2017

It's a "Total Eclipse of the Heart" as DNCE and Bonnie Tyler Celebrate Rare Celestial Moment on Royal Caribbean
Today the only place on Earth to see Bonnie Tyler and DNCE perform "Total Eclipse of the Heart" during the Great American Eclipse – a total solar eclipse 99 years in the making – was on board Royal Caribbean International's adventure-packed Oasis of the Seas. Tyler, known as the international first lady of rock, joined multi-platinum selling band DNCE in an exclusive performance of the popular ballad for guests on the cruise line's once-in-a-lifetime Total Eclipse Cruise.

"As if moving our ship to sail along the eclipse's path of totality to give our guests 100 percent visibility of this phenomenon wasn't enough, we wanted to take it to another level – just above 'out of this world'," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Royal Caribbean is known as the most innovative cruise line, always pushing to create bigger and bolder adventures for vacationers. We're excited to have DNCE and Bonnie on board, and even more thrilled to have seen the looks on our guests' faces when she was brought on stage to sing 'Total Eclipse of the Heart.' This is what we live for – to make unforgettable memories. "

As the moon made its way to cover the sun for the celestial event of the century, DNCE took center stage in Oasis of the Seas' open-air AquaTheater, performing the band's chart-topping hits, including "Kissing Strangers," "Body Moves" and, of course, "Cake by the Ocean." The concert culminated in the ultimate performance by DNCE and the Welsh-born singer. All eyes were on Joe Jonas and Tyler, alongside DNCE bandmates Cole Whittle, JinJoo and Jack Lawless, as they sang a powerful remix of Tyler's classic, paying tribute to the solar eclipse.

While on board Oasis of the Seas, one of the world's three largest cruise ships, the performers will explore the ship's seven distinct neighborhoods and experience unmatched adventure from flying across the ship on a zip line nine decks high to catching waves on one of the ship's two FlowRider surf simulators, and scaling to great heights on one of the ship's signature rock walls. The 7-night Total Eclipse Cruise set sail on Aug. 20 from Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida and will visit Eastern Caribbean destinations including Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Nassau, Bahamas.

Guests, Crew Aboard the ‘Fun Ships’ Celebrate Total Eclipse Carnival Style
Guests and crew aboard Carnival Cruise Line joined millions of individuals across the U.S. to celebrate the total eclipse of the sun which took place yesterday at approximately 2 p.m. EDT.

Upwards of 20,000 special glasses were provided on board to view this rare and fascinating astronomical event which is the result of the alignment of the sun, Earth and moon to block sunlight from reaching the Earth and doesn’t happen again for another seven years.

A number of fun eclipse-themed activities were also held across the fleet, everything from viewing and sailaway parties complete with appropriate music, games and more to a Sun Dance Competition with participants vying to “bring out the sun” on deck. Aptly, Blue Moon beer specials were available, as well.

Princess Cruises Ships Present Unique Viewing For Great American Eclipse
For the first time in 99 years, a total eclipse of the sun will pass over the continental United States on August 21, and Princess Cruises guests sailing on six cruise ships in Alaska will be invited to special viewing parties as part of the cruise line's exclusive Stargazing with Discovery at Sea program.

From the top decks in Alaska, nearly 18,000 guests aboard Coral Princess, Emerald Princess, Grand Princess, Island Princess, Ruby Princess and Star Princess will be invited to enjoy an approximately 54 percent view of the eclipse. Guests will be provided specially-branded Science Channel™/Discovery at Sea eclipse glasses for ultimate viewing, paired with educational background on what causes an eclipse from the exclusive Stargazing with Discovery at Sea staff as they provide a "tour" of three intervals the morning of August 21.

"Through our exclusive partnership with Discovery Communications, we're able to offer expert tips and background from Science Channel experts that provide intriguing commentary around this rare phenomenon and for the ultimate viewing party onboard," said Denise Saviss, Princess Cruises vice president, entertainment experiences.

The Great American Eclipse onboard event is part of the Stargazing with Discovery at Sea program which is led by Discovery at Sea Science Channel Ambassador and astrophysicist Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi who has created entertaining family stargazing programming enabling the crew to lead cosmic voyages from the ship's top deck.

Branded posters, Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center solar projector building projects and even specialty Eclipse Cookies also will be offered to celebrate this rare occasion.

Seabourn Names Captain For New Seabourn Ovation
Seabourn announced this week that it has named Stig Betten as captain of its newest vessel, Seabourn Ovation, and Helmut Huber as hotel director.

Betten will oversee all operations of the line's newest vessel, which is scheduled to launch in May 2018 in Italy. Huber will oversee the hotel department, which includes suites, housekeeping, and food & beverage services.

"These gentlemen are two seasoned professionals and they will be fantastic as we launch Seabourn Ovation," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "They both have years of luxury experience to guide them and our guests and crews have really enjoyed their distinct personalities during prior assignments on our ships. I'm confident they will do well as they provide leadership throughout the ship's delivery and into the maiden season."

Betten was born and raised in the small village called Surnadal on the west coast of Norway. Hailing from many generations of seafarers, it was natural for Betten to follow in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great grandfather by choosing a career at sea. Betten began his seagoing career in 1997, initially with a Norwegian seismic exploration company. He joined Seabourn in 2001 and has worked his way up the ranks from Second Officer to Captain. He has been assigned on past Seabourn ships Pride, Spirit, and Legend, as well as Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest, including being a part of the start-up team as Staff Captain during the construction of Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest. When he is not at sea, Betten enjoys spending time with his family in Istanbul. When visiting his hometown in Norway, he enjoys fishing, trekking and hunting.

Huber is a native of Innsbruck, Austria. He started his career in the cruise industry in 1992 as a busboy/assistant waiter, working his way up through various positions to the management level. After almost 10 years at sea, Huber decided to go back to university, acquiring several degrees and certificates. Once he completed his studies, he returned to the hospitality industry in Food & Beverage and Hotel Management positions at luxury properties before returning to the cruise industry in 2007. Huber joined Seabourn in 2015 as Hotel Director. He splits time between Innsbruck and Los Angeles during his time off, where he enjoys activities such as scuba diving, snow skiing, mountain biking and travel.

Seabourn Ovation will expand and build on the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. Seabourn Ovation will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service. A sister ship, Seabourn Encore, launched to much acclaim in December 2016.

Designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, Seabourn Ovation will feature modern design elements and innovations consistent with the line's reputation for understated elegance in a yacht-like environment. The 40,350-GRT ship will be configured to carry just 600 guests, based on double occupancy. Every suite will also feature a private veranda supported by impeccable service.

Carnival Paradise To Offer Five Additional Cruises To Havana In 2018
Following strong response to its first-ever cruises to Cuba announced earlier this year, Carnival Cruise Line has added five more voyages featuring extended calls in Havana in 2018.

The new voyages include three five-day cruises to Havana and Cozumel or Key West departing Feb. 17, July 2 and Sept. 5, 2018; a six-day sailing featuring Havana and Grand Cayman departing Aug. 26, 2018; and an eight-day voyage with stops at Havana, Grand Cayman and Cozumel departing Aug. 18, 2018.

All of the voyages include a day-long call and overnight in Havana with the eight-day cruise of Aug. 18, 2018, offering two full days at the historic Cuban capital.

"Our cruises to Cuba have been very well received and we're delighted to provide our guests with additional opportunities to experience and explore this fascinating and sought-after destination," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Earlier this year, Carnival announced a series of four- and five-day voyages to Havana that kicked off in late June. Upcoming voyages in the initial program include four-day cruises departing Aug. 24, Sept. 7 and 21, and Oct. 5 and 19, 2017 as well as May 3, 2018 and five-day voyages departing Aug. 28, Sept. 25 and Oct. 9, 2017.

Carnival Paradise guests can select from nearly 20 different shore excursion experiences that showcase Cuba's vibrant culture, majestic beauty and centuries-old architectural landmarks.

Aboard Carnival Paradise, guests enjoy an array of amenities and a full schedule of daytime activities and nighttime entertainment, including newly added Cuban-themed entertainment and activities. Dining options include two full-service main dining rooms and expansive poolside eatery with a 24-hour pizzeria.

Celebrity Cruises Unveils New Industry-First Partnership for Aspiring West African Seafarers
Celebrity Cruises is proud to announce a unique partnership with the Regional Maritime University (RMU) in Ghana. For the first time in cruise industry history, female bridge officers will be openly recruited from a West African country through a new Celebrity Cadet Program in partnership with RMU.

With the announcement, the brand is also excited to welcome the first official new crew member from the program, RMU Cadet Nicholine Tifuh Azirh, who will be joining the bridge team onboard Celebrity Equinox.

The partnership with RMU came about when Celebrity's President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo met with students from the Mandela Washington Fellowship at Florida International University (FIU). There, she met Tifuh Azirh who shared her inspiring story of perseverance; Tifuh Azirh holds two degrees, yet following graduation she struggled to find opportunities in the maritime industry as an African female despite her academic performance, subsequent teaching at RMU, and cadet experience.

"After hearing Nicholine's story, I met with our SVP of Global Marine Operations, Patrik Dahlgren, to see what we needed to do in order to give her, and others, the opportunities they've earned. A year later, I'm so excited to share the news of our partnership with RMU and to welcome Nicholine onboard," said Lutoff-Perlo. "Nicholine isn't just a new-hire, she symbolizes hope for women around the world who dream of working in a very male-dominated industry; she's the face of our industry-leading partnership; and she is an incredible example of Celebrity's commitment to opening up the world."

"Nicholine's success is our entire world's success. Her story shows the power of win-win partnerships and the positive impact they have on our communities – and beyond," said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. "FIU is proud to be the only university in Florida to host the Department of State's Mandela Washington Fellows program – and use our resources, talent and partnerships to help prepare the next generation of our world's leaders. We are so proud to have been a part of Nicholine's journey to a successful career!"

"The goal of our partnership with RMU is to inspire and disrupt the social norms that burden female officers in western African nations, such as Ghana," said Patrik Dahlgren, SVP of Global Marine Operations, Celebrity Cruises. "Nicholine is our pioneer cadet and a pioneer for women in her country; moving forward, we will continue to evaluate candidates and continue to push the envelope in developing a growth sector for marine officers in a part of the world that traditionally underserves female officers."

Tifuh Azirh is scheduled to join the Celebrity Equinox family on August 27, 2017.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.50 + 0.69%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.99 + 0.32%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.11 + 0.96%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.86 - 2.78%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Many people konw that Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 and P&O's Canberra served as troop ships during the Falkland islands conflict in 1982, but can you name the other former liner that was also pressed into service during the conflict?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What ever became of Cunard's Carpathia that became famous for rescuing the survivors of Titanic?

Answer - Cunard's Carpathia was torpedoed by a German Submarine and sunk in the Atlantic 17th July 1918.
courtesy of Janet Slee


Cruise News - August 14, 2017

NCL Unveils Features For Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Cruise Line today revealed features and amenities for Norwegian Bliss, the line's sixteenth ship, which has been designed for the ultimate cruising experience and will sail to Alaska and the Caribbean with select voyages to the Mexican Riviera beginning in June 2018. Custom-built for the spectacular, Norwegian Bliss will boast many firsts at sea for the global market including the largest competitive race track at sea and an open-air laser tag course. The ship's exciting new features will join the brand's signature elements of freedom and flexibility that Norwegian is known for across the globe including a myriad of mouthwatering dining options and a vibrant onboard atmosphere fueled by dynamic intimate spaces and a multitude of bars and lounges, award-winning youth programs and more.

"Norwegian Bliss will no doubt be our most incredible ship to date," said Stuart. "We have elevated Norwegian Bliss's onboard experience to new heights, bringing the best features from across our fleet plus exciting new first-at-sea activities like the largest race track and new dining concepts to create the ultimate cruising experience."

Imagine Exhilaration
Norwegian Bliss will boast excitement around every corner and delight guests with thrills, with activities spanning the entirety of the ship's top deck. Following overwhelming popularity aboard Norwegian Bliss' sister ship in China, Norwegian Joy, guests will be able to put the pedal to the metal for the first time aboard a North American-based cruise ship with a two level electric-car race track. The competitive track, the longest at sea at nearly 1,000 feet, will rev up the hearts of all who race around her many twists and turns with four speed settings accommodating novice, intermediate and advanced drivers, reaching up to 30 miles per hour -- with a special "turbo boost" available on each lap. The electric cars run silent so as to not disturb those seeking to enjoy the serene environment, but guests will have the full racing experience while they channel their inner Andretti, as the sounds of a race car engine are piped in through speakers located in the car's headrest.

After burning rubber at the race track, guests can test their agility at the open-air laser tag course. Themed as an abandoned space station, the course comes to life both day and night as guests go into stealth-mode and compete against family and friends with state-of-the art laser guns.

After working up a sweat, guests aboard Norwegian Bliss can cool down at the ship's expansive pool and sundeck featuring two spacious pools and six infinity hot tubs that scale the side of the ship. The ship's Aqua Park also includes two multi-story waterslides. Not for the faint of heart, the high-speed Ocean Loops free fall slide includes two exhilarating loops, one that extends out over the side of the ship and a second see-through loop that stretches down to the deck below, sure to offer a wet and wild ride. The tandem Aqua Racer slide allows guests to race side-by-side on inner tubes for more than 360 feet, with a translucent section that provides stunning ocean views as guests twist and turn to the finish line.

Junior cruisers can splish, splash and have a blast at the Kids' Aqua Park, a watery wonderland of splash pads, water cannons, tipping buckets and slides. The little ones will also have a blast at Splash Academy, the fleet's award-winning complimentary youth program. Centrally-located on Deck 5, Splash Academy will offer age-appropriate supervised activities for children aged three to 12 with fun and energetic programming including games with the conservation-minded Officer Snook, a circus spectacular celebration, jungle-themed nights and more. Teens aged 13 through 17 will enjoy their own space aboard Norwegian Bliss on deck 5, Entourage, adjacent to the ship's arcade. The exclusive teen space features plush lounge furniture, gaming stations, foosball, air hockey and a dancefloor with neon lighting, as the space transitions to the hottest teen nightclub at sea in the evening hours.

Imagine Delectable
Foodies and cocktail connoisseurs will be able to dine, sip and savor to their heart's delight with a breadth of dining and bar options aboard Norwegian Bliss, including signature Norwegian favorites as well as exclusive new concepts that will debut aboard the line's newest ship.

Modern décor and premium ingredients will meet southern flavors at the all-new Q Texas Smokehouse, where guests will be able to tap their boots to the beat of live contemporary pop country music each night as they indulge in authentic Texas barbeque in a sleek urban setting. The new à la carte specialty restaurant will infuse an explosion of flavors in every bite with a selection brisket, ribs, chicken and sausages and more freshly smoked over hickory, oak and pecan woods.

The flavors aboard Norwegian Bliss will travel south-of-the-border with Los Lobos, offering an upscale, modern take on traditional favorites like fresh guacamole prepared tableside, al pastor tacos, enchiladas de mole, handcrafted margaritas featuring private-label Patron Barrel Select, Norwegian's own tequila blend, and more.

Sweets and treats will be served up day and night at Coco's, a completely new à la carte dessert venue located on deck 6 in the heart of the ship, 678 Ocean Place, where liquid chocolate in an enclosed oversized chocolate fountain will adorn its entranceway, delighting kids and kids at heart. The chocolate-themed dessert restaurant will feature handmade pralines, truffles, crepes and other decadent treats paired with fine coffees and teas.

In a nod to the ship's homeport of Seattle, guests aboard Norwegian Bliss can warm up for their glacier walk with a Caramel Macchiato or grab a Teavana Shaken Iced Green Tea Lemonade to sip on while lounging on a pristine Caribbean beach with a full service Starbucks store on board. Guests can start their day with Starbucks coffees, teas and bites available à la carte.

Norwegian will bring together the best of its specialty dining experiences aboard Norwegian Bliss with signature à la carte restaurants including French cuisine at Le Bistro; the tastes of Tuscany at La Cucina; the finest fresh seafood at Ocean Blue; global fusion cuisine featuring sushi, dumplings, handhelds and more at Food Republic; Cheeseburgers in Paradise at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at Sea; and handmade cupcakes and macarons at The Bake Shop. Teppanyaki, the brand's family-favorite Japanese hibachi steakhouse will also be onboard at cover charge pricing. Complimentary dining outlet The Local will offer guests pub fare in a relaxed neighborhood atmosphere 24 hours a day.

Norwegian's original beverage concepts will round out the ship's culinary offerings. The A-List Bar, named for Norwegian President & CEO and 30-year veteran Andy Stuart, will serve handcrafted cocktails, wines and premium spirits. The District Brew House will serve 24 beers on tap and more than 50 bottled beers. Local favorites on tap at The District will include craft beers from Red Hook Brewery and Elysian Brewery in Seattle as well as Wynwood Brewery and M.I.A. Beer Company in Miami. The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar will offer a curated wine list featuring 35 grape varietals including top selections from Washington-area vineyards, Tuscany and Michael Mondavi's own Napa Valley Estate. Paying homage to her homeport cities, Norwegian Bliss' beverage program will also feature a selection of local craft cocktails developed by Seattle-based celebrity mixologist and chef Kathy Casey as well as Miami-based Gabe Orta, one of the master curator's behind the city's ultra-popular BarLab concepts.

Imagine a New Scene
During her inaugural summer season, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle. Unlike any other ship sailing the West coast, Norwegian Bliss will feature The Waterfront, a popular feature that debuted on Norwegian Breakaway in 2013; the outdoor promenade is designed to enhance guests' connection to the ocean with al fresco dining, bars and lounge spaces and offer spectacular views of Alaska's breathtaking scenery and wildlife or the Caribbean's stunning turquoise waters.

Norwegian's vibrant nightlife scene will be taken to the next level aboard Norwegian Bliss with live entertainment, electrifying deck parties and an expansive casino featuring hundreds of slot machines and table games to suit the likes of novice and pro gamblers alike. In a first for Norwegian, the casino will now offer a smoking and a non-smoking casino to cater to all guest preferences.

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Norwegian Bliss is currently being constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and is scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018.

Cunard Prepares to Set Sail for QE2 50th Anniversary Celebrations
Cunard announced this week that it is honouring the 50th anniversary of its longest serving ocean liner, QE2, with a special voyage onboard the luxury cruise liner Queen Elizabeth.

The 50th anniversary of this much-loved ship will be remembered as Queen Elizabeth sets sail from Southampton on Friday 8 September for a 17-night voyage. Departing guests will enjoy Venice's iconic canals, mythical Mount Etna in Sicily and Corfu's leafy beauty.

Angus Struthers, Vice President, Cunard said: "This mediterranean cruise is perfectly timed to pay tribute to QE2's launch and naming by HM Queen Elizabeth II 50 years ago. When QE2 came into service in the 1960s, many critics said she wouldn't last a decade in the age of the jet but her unique design as a dual-purpose ship meant that she was versatile enough to operate both as a transatlantic liner and a cruise ship."

He added: "Given how famous and loved she was, we felt this was a great opportunity to pay tribute to this Cunarder's remarkable life onboard our newest ship, Queen Elizabeth; herself designed to offer a perfect luxury cruise holiday."

Celebrations focus on five special theme days, each of which will be accompanied by QE2 inspired menus, talks from special guests, historical snippets in the daily programme, past-passenger gatherings and QE2 quizzes.

Themes include Moving in Royal Circles which looks back at the unique and special bond between QE2 and the Royal Family; The Falklands which acknowledges the ship's service as a troop ship in the 1982 conflict; Triumph of a Great Tradition examining the QE2's remarkable career achievements and the long history of Cunard 'firsts', and World Flagship in tribute to QE2's 26 world cruises that made her an icon in cities across the globe.

Celebrations culminate on QE2 Day - 20 September 2017 - exactly 50 years since the ship was launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Events will include a QE2 ball, and a historical retrospective of the ship's service life to be hosted in Queen Elizabeth's 850 seat Royal Court Theatre.

As part of Cunard's renowned and award winning Insights Speaker programme, a number of special guests connected to QE2 will be sailing onboard. One such guest is Captain Ian McNaught, QE2's last Master, who said: "This voyage is a significant and timely tribute to the world's best loved ship. QE2 remains the longest serving express liner in history. She carried 2.5 million passengers over 5.6 million miles; that's further than any passenger ship - ever! This remarkable ship sailed alone on the North Atlantic for most of her career. She carried the Cunard tradition from the bygone era of the ocean liner and sustained it into the 21st century. The QE2 carried Royalty, celebrities and served in the Falklands War."

He added: "What I remember most as her Master, were the passengers. Everyday people who saved up to experience life onboard the world's best loved ship. Many came back time and time again. That is a tribute to the countless people who served as QE2's crew, each one making the experience special and memorable. QE2 has been gone for nearly a decade now, however on her 50th anniversary the memory of her is strong. It is very fitting to be acknowledging the QE2's remarkable career here onboard Queen Elizabeth."

Other guests include Commodore R. W. Warwick who served as QE2's Captain for 13 years; QE2 social hostess Maureen Ryan who served onboard the original Cunard Queens as well as Queen Mary 2; and maritime historian Chris Frame, author of a series of books about QE2 and Cunard.

The voyage departs 8 September and returns 25 September.

Seabourn Announces New "Extended Explorations" Sailings In 2018 & 2019
Seabourn announced this week that it is offering new Extended Explorations voyages aboard Seabourn Sojourn during its fall 2018 and winter/spring 2019 season presenting guests with an opportunity to explore more of our extraordinary world.

Ideal for guests who prefer longer cruises and more exotic destinations, the new Extended Explorations voyages will include a range of unique itineraries ranging from 12 to 128 days in length in exotic locales such as the South Pacific, Hawaii, Australia & New Zealand, as well as Africa & Southeast Asia. Seabourn Sojourn, the guests' "home away from home," will visit more than 30 new and notable ports during these voyages.

Extended Explorations offers travelers a variety of ways to uncover new destinations by allowing guests to have an in-depth experience in a specific region or effortlessly move from one region to another. Adding a week, month, or an entire season offers many benefits for guests, including the opportunity for overnight stays in major ports with accommodations on board and ashore.

"All of our itineraries are designed to provide guests with a world-class luxury experience and some travelers prefer a longer, more leisurely cruising schedule with the chance to explore some very interesting parts of the world in-depth," noted Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "These voyages show our ongoing dedication to providing memorable experiences in noteworthy destinations that are rich in culture."

Guests will also enjoy a wide range of added values and amenities throughout their Extended Explorations, including:

• Seabourn Conversations enrichment program featuring a line of up of distinguished speakers and personalities discussing topics of regional and cultural interest
• Wines produced in the various regions will be sourced and served for guests to enjoy in many venues on board
• Seabourn chefs will create special menus featuring distinctive regional dishes and cuisines to tease curious palates
• Regional guest chefs creating special dinner menus as well as hosting cooking demonstrations
• Special events taking place on the ship to celebrate local cultures and arts
• Itineraries feature frequent extended stays and overnights in select marquee ports, allowing guests to spend more time exploring unique destinations
• Optional mid-cruise Seabourn Journeys packages take guests to see significant area highlights and landmarks ashore
• Extended Explorations are combinable with other sailings for additional savings

The longest Extended Explorations voyage spans 128 days, from October 15, 2018 to February 21, 2019, departing from Los Angeles to Cape Town, South Africa.

For those who are not able to sail the longer voyages, guests can choose or in some cases combine shorter segments that best fit their schedules and interests, including: Fall 2018:

• "Isles of Polynesian Paradise" and "Isles of the Southern Cross": Los Angeles to Auckland Exploration (Departs October 15; 34 Days) – Explore Hawaii, Kiribati, Bora Bora, Tahiti, Cook Islands, Tonga and Fiji, with three crossings of the International Date Line en route to Auckland. This itinerary is comprised of an 18 day and 16 day segment.
• "Landfalls of Captain Cook": Auckland to Sydney (Departs November 19; 22 Days) – Explore New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Queensland, Australia (including the Great Barrier Reef).
• "Holiday Australian Exploration": Sydney to Singapore (Departs December 11; 36 Days) – Sail to destinations throughout South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, as well as East Timor, and Komodo, Bali and Java in Indonesia.

Winter/Spring 2019:

• "Passage to the Seychelles" and "African Isles & Cape Coast": Singapore to Cape Town (Departs January 16; 36 Days) – Travel to ports in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Victoria, Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, Mayotte, Mozambique, and South Africa. This sailing is comprised of a 14 day and 22 day segment.
• "South Africa & the Skeleton Coast": Cape Town to Cape Town (Departs February 21; 12 Days) – Visit ports in South Africa including Langebaan, Port Elizabeth and Mossel Bay before passing the Cape of Good Hope for Walvis Bay and Luderitz in Namibia en route to a round-trip return to Cape Town.
• "African Nights & Indian Ocean Isles" and "Myanmar & Malaysian Marvels": Cape Town to Singapore (Departs March 5; 36 Days) – Explore ports in South Africa, as well as in Madagascar, Réunion, Mauritius, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand and Malaysia, with an Equatorial crossing along the way en route to Singapore. This sailing is comprised of a 20 day and 16 day segment.
• "Jewels of Southeast Asia": Singapore to Shanghai (Departs April 10;18 Days) – Sail to ports in Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the People's Republic of China including Hong Kong, as well as Taiwan, and Ishigaki, Japan.
• "Gems of China, Korea & Japan": Shanghai to Kobe (Departs April 28; 18 Days) – Visit various ports in the People's Republic of China, South Korea including Incheon (Seoul), and Japan including Hiroshima, en route to Kobe.
• "Kamchatka & Kuroshio Route": Kobe to Vancouver (Departs May 16, 21 Days) – Discover Aomori and Otaru in Japan, Petropavlovsk (Kamchatka) in Russia, and various ports in Alaska including Kodiak Island and Ketchikan, plus scenic cruising on Glacier Bay and the Inside Passage en route to Vancouver.

Princess Cruises Eighth Annual Relaxation Report Reveals Half of Americans Don't Get the Sleep They Need
Leading up to National Relaxation Day on August 15, Princess Cruises has released the results of its eighth annual Relaxation Report, which has revealed that when it comes to relaxation and sleep, many Americans are in need of a wakeup call. According to results of the survey by Wakefield Research for Princess Cruises, Americans aren't carving out enough time in their days for sleep or relaxation, with approximately half (49%) reporting they aren't getting the sleep they need and 78% saying they don't set aside time to relax each day.

Relaxation and sleep go hand-in-hand, and the lack of both appears to be catching up with Americans. Rather than getting the most enjoyment out of their vacation, working adults take an average of four days off per year just to catch up on sleep. Whether it's a full vacation or even just a few minutes of downtime, learning how to carve out more "me" time is clearly becoming a necessity. Even going on vacation doesn't guarantee better rest, according to the survey, which found that 63% of Americans frequently struggle to get a good night's sleep while on vacation.

As one of the world's largest international premium cruise brand, Princess Cruises, is committed to ensuring its guests come back from vacation feeling refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated. As part of its Come Back New Promise, Princess Cruises partnered with leading experts in both the science and beauty of sleep to develop the Princess Luxury Bed. Together with board-certified sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus and designer Candice Olson, Princess Cruises now delivers its guests the ultimate night of sleep at sea.

"The number one advice I give people is that sleep is a sensory experience and all five of your senses must be prepared for slumber in order for you to fall asleep easily and stay asleep all night long," said Dr. Breus. "I'm thrilled to have partnered with Princess Cruises and believe we have come up with a bed that will allow guests to achieve the ultimate in rest and relaxation."

The Relaxation Report revealed factors that Dr. Breus notes are causes for Americans to not get the sleep and relaxation they need, including:

• Consuming caffeine too late in the day - caffeine can linger in the system for up to eight hours, and yet 44% of Americans admit to drinking caffeine at 2 p.m. or later
• Indulging in a nightcap - Even though alcohol can prevent people from getting quality sleep, more than half (53%) of Americans age 21 or older admit to having had a drink within three hours of going to sleep in the past last two weeks
• Stress over current events - For 67% of Americans, today's political climate has made it harder for them to relax. Taking a break from the 24/7 political news cycle may be the prescription for more relaxation and better sleep
• Not sticking to a schedule - One in four Americans (25%) don't go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Setting a consistent alarm is an easy way to get more satisfying sleep
• The urban grind - The hustle and bustle of the city can take its toll on the body. Working city-dwellers are significantly more likely to take five or more days off per year just to catch up on sleep (45%) compared to just 25% of those who live in the suburbs and 24% of those who live in rural areas
• Not using time off - Among working Americans, about 1 in 3 (31%) didn't use all the time available to them. Among Americans who didn't use all of their paid time off, the top reason is they had too much work to get done (37%)

The Princess Luxury Bed is rolling out to more than 44,000 staterooms through 2019. The bed features a plush, two-inch thick pillow top, a nine-inch, single-sided medium firm mattress for enhanced support, individually wrapped coils for less partner disturbance, a European-inspired duvet and 100% luxurious Jacquard-woven cotton linens. The Princess Luxury Bed is also now available for guests to order for their homes via www.princessluxurybed.com.

To prepare guests for the ultimate night of sleep at sea, Princess Cruises and Dr. Breus optimized the staterooms for a sleep-friendly sensory experience. As an extension to the sensory stateroom offerings, we offer a SLEEP by Princess Kit which includes additional sleep-inducing items such as eye shades, earplugs, aromatherapy scents, Dr. Breus' Good Night™ app and more.

Carnival Corporation Launches Sustainability Website
Carnival Corporation today released its 2016 sustainability report as part of the launch of its new dedicated sustainability website.

The report and complementary site detail the company's sustainability efforts and the progress made in 2016 toward its 2020 sustainability performance goals. The report was prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 "core" level, and a full copy can be downloaded from Carnival Corporation's new site.

In 2015, Carnival Corporation announced its 2020 sustainability goals, establishing 10 goals for reducing its environmental footprint while enhancing the health, safety and security of its guests and crew members and promoting sustainable business practices among its brands, business partners and suppliers.

The 2016 report and website, Sustainability from Ship to Shore, confirm the company is ahead of schedule on reducing its carbon intensity and is on track to meet its additional sustainability goals during the next three years across its 10 cruise brands.

"We take our commitment to sustainability and the environment very seriously and take proactive measures to ensure that sustainability is ingrained in the core of our business practices," said Bill Burke, chief maritime officer for Carnival Corporation, whose industry-leading cruise lines sail to more than 760 ports around the world. "Our top priority is to consistently exceed our guests' expectations for a great cruise vacation – and that includes providing an exceptionally safe, comfortable and enjoyable environment for our guests and crew members, while at the same time maintaining our deep commitment to protecting the oceans, seas and destinations we visit."

Added Burke: "We have a great team of employees, most of whom work and live at sea, and we all understand a healthy environment is not just an operating necessity, but it is also the right thing to do. We want our guests to be confident that when they book a cruise vacation with one of our brands, they are doing so with a responsible global corporate citizen."

As part of the site, Carnival Corporation's president and CEO Arnold Donald invites readers to join the cruise company on its sustainability journey through a welcome video that highlights key elements of the company's commitment to sustainability. On the new site and report, easy to read messaging – enhanced by colorful graphics, engaging photos and videos – provides updates on progress made during 2016 in sustainability performance. The report was designed to share sustainability practices with stakeholders, including the company's employees, the millions of guests who cruise with Carnival Corporation brands and investors.

Notable progress made by Carnival Corporation in 2016 that is highlighted in the report includes:

• Being ahead of schedule in achieving a nearly 25 percent reduction in CO2e (equivalent carbon dioxide) relative to the 2005 baseline.
• Pioneering the use of LNG (liquefied natural gas), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel, and introducing the first cruise ship ever fueled with LNG from trucks while in port.
• Continuing to make progress in installing Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems, which significantly improve air emissions by reducing sulfur compounds and particulate matter from engine exhaust – by the end of 2016, 59 percent of the fleet was equipped with the systems (and a larger percentage is equipped with the systems as of today).
• 40 percent of the fleet was equipped with cold ironing capabilities by the end of 2016, which allows ships to use an alternative power source while in port.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.03 + 0.04%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.61 + 1.57%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.09 - 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 57.46 + 1.43%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What ever became of Cunard's Carpathia that became famous for rescuing the survivors of Titanic?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the first new North Atlantic liner built after World War II?

Answer - The first new North Atlantic liner built after World War II was the Stockholm.
courtesy of Timothy Edgecombe, Vancouver, BC.


Cruise News - August 7, 2017

Carnival Paradise Passengers Enjoying Wide Variety of Cuban-Themed Activities on Board
Carnival Paradise inaugurated Carnival Cruise Line’s first-ever voyages to Havana, Cuba, in late June – the first of 12 voyages that feature the historic Cuban capital.

In addition to the opportunity to experience and explore this fascinating and previously off-limits destination, guests sailing aboard these four- and five-day voyages are enjoying a wide variety of Cuban-themed activities and entertainment, highlighted by Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance, a dazzling high-energy show that showcases both classic and contemporary Latin hits.

Part of the line’s popular Playlist Productions shows, Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance features a sizzling four-piece Cuban band and a talented eight-member cast who have audiences singing and dancing in the aisles as they perform songs by top Latin artists, including Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz and Pitbull, amid a tropics-inspired backdrop of Cuba and Miami. The show leads into the Havana Nights Deck Party, a Cuban-themed soiree where Amor Cubano cast members are joined by a DJ to keep guests dancing on Lido Deck into the wee hours.

During Carnival Paradise’s cruises to Havana, guests can also participate in Cuban-themed games and hone their dance moves with salsa lessons led by the Playlist Productions team. There’s also a lecturer on board who discusses the country’s rich history and culture.

Carnival Paradise will operate 10 four- and five-day cruises to Cuba between now and May 2018. Upcoming four-day cruises depart Aug. 14, Sept. 7 and 21, and Oct. 5 and 19, 2017, as well as May 3, 2018, and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana. Five-day voyages depart Aug. 14 and 28, Sept. 25 and Oct. 9, 2017, and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana as well as a stop in either Cozumel or Key West.

Sweden’s Bassoe Technology Announceds Plans to build Expedition Cruise Ship
Sweden’s Bassoe Technology released design details for its Vega Expedition Cruise Ship. The vessel which will feature 100 spacious all balcony suites and staterooms for up to 240 passengers, is designed for worldwide operations in Polar Regions and tropical areas and complies with all requirements, environmental standards and other rules and regulations, including the new IMO POLAR Code.

According to Bassoe, the Vega has been designed to offer its passengers an expedition and destination travel experience, visiting remote and spectacular environmental areas without sacrificing any comfort. The layout has been developed with the intention of offering the vessel’s passengers an extensive day and night time experience, with facilities to offer marine activities, lectures, fine dining, spa and recreation as well as late night shows. However, this has been achieved without sacrificing the flexibility required to meet specific Owner preferences.

The Vega was initiated by CIMC Raffles and has utilized its Scandinavian marine and offshore engineering subsidiary Bassoe Technology to create the design. During the development, special attention has been paid to safety, fuel efficiency, low noise and low vibrations as well as minimizing emissions.

The Vega will be built at CIMC Raffles, drawing upon its experience in the construction of sophisticated high quality and robust offshore units intended for operation in the inhospitable conditions of the North Sea and sub-arctic areas, as well as in the building of luxury mega yachts through its Pride Mega Yacht division. For the Vega CIMC Raffles will utilize its network of experienced and internationally recognized suppliers to provide the equipment and furnish the interior.

The Vega will offer passengers the following features:

• Towering above the uppermost deck is a 360 degree observation lounge offering a sky bar which can also be utilized as a lecture area.

• Spa-area with sauna, massage rooms, gymnasium and other recreation facilities.

• Lido deck with infinity indoor/outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzis covered by a retractable roof.

• Grill restaurant offering both inside and outside dining.

• All suites and staterooms are generously spaced and fitted with veranda sized balconies. There are also two loft suits forward and four veranda/jacuzzi suites aft.

• A spacious atrium vertically connect the various decks and fill the interior with natural light.

• Entertainment deck with spacious outdoor walk-around. Main restaurant is located aft and can be divided into separate smaller restaurants of different themes or cuisine styles. Forward of the atrium is envisaged as a public lounge area but can be tailored to an Owner`s choice. The sidewalls can be opened for direct access to the walk around.

• Spacious theater for shows and lectures with convenient access to the walk-around.

• Marine lounge, handling area for watercrafts and a marina with shell doors for safe embarkation of RIB’s and tender boats.

Celebrity Cruises Appoints First Ever Female Captain in the Galapagos
For the first time in cruise industry history a female seafarer will navigate the rich archipelago of the Galapagos as captain. A native of Ecuador, Nathaly Albán will command the ultra-exclusive Celebrity Xploration; as captain of the recently revitalized catamaran.

With a total of 12 years experience sailing throughout the Galapagos, Captain Albán has worked on several ships in the region, first joining the Celebrity family in 2006 as third officer onboard the 100-guest Celebrity Xpedition.

Continuing the brand's dedication to advancing the role of women in leadership, Albán's appointment follows that of Celebrity Summit's own Captain Kate McCue.

"Empowering strong women and elevating them to deserved leadership roles is a cause that is close to my heart, and one that Celebrity Cruises truly values," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "When the opportunity presented itself to promote Nathaly, who radiates passion and love for her job and for Celebrity, to captain, the decision was easy."

Albán was only one of six women in her graduating class at La Escuela de la Marina Mercante Nacional in Ecuador. Prior to graduating, she held a variety of roles in the maritime industry, most notably serving in the FLOPEC Tanker Fleet of the Ecuadorian Navy. Following her graduation, Albán worked on several ships in the region, including Celebrity Xpedition.

"Simply put, Captain Nathaly Albán was the ideal candidate for the job and we believe in celebrating and advancing our brightest talent," said Patrik Dahlgren, SVP of Global Marine Operations, Celebrity Cruises. "Our goal is to attract, develop and retain the best people from many different regions of the world and backgrounds. Our industry has typically been very male dominated - yet we believe in inclusiveness and opening up opportunities for all."

When asked how it feels to be named captain of Celebrity Xploration, Albán responded: "It is a great honor and privilege – I'm overwhelmed with positive emotion. I told my family many times that I would be wearing white one day and be the first woman to serve as a captain on a ship in the Galapagos, now it's happening and I'm committed to delivering the very best experience for all guests onboard."

Albán will begin her new role on Celebrity Xploration in August of 2017.

HAL's New Chocolate Surprise Is the Ultimate Decadent Dessert Parade
Holland America Line is reinventing the traditional dessert buffet by introducing a Chocolate Surprise parade on the last gala evening of every cruise. Rather than guests having to make their way to the buffet and wait in line for a sweet treat, Chocolate Surprise brings bite-sized confections to guests in the main public areas as they enjoy the evening's entertainment.

After dinner, waiters parade through the Promenade decks with trays of chocolate desserts, passing them out to guests in the bars and lounges as they take in music or enjoy a cocktail. The nearly hour-long parade is the newest addition to Holland America Line's growing list of culinary innovations that put an unconventional twist on a traditional event.

"Guests love our culinary events, particularly those featuring chocolate, and we wanted to create something special that enhances their evening activities," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "It's all about making the most of our exceptional service, and the Chocolate Surprise delights guests in a most delicious and memorable way."

The Chocolate Surprise menu includes rich, creamy and chocolaty bite-sized desserts that will delight even the sweetest tooth. As servers with silver trays pass by, guests can choose from chocolate cones with lemon curd, bittersweet chocolate and butter cream; double chocolate cupcakes; dark chocolate hazelnut pops; milk chocolate raspberry tarts; chocolate macaroons with Grand Marnier; chocolate-dipped marshmallows and caramel puffed rice treats with chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Surprise takes place on all ships fleetwide now and is in addition to even more tempting selections on the dessert menu in the restaurants.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.00 + 1.83%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 117.76 + 4.15%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.09 - 9.13%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 56.65 + 2.87%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the first new North Atlantic liner built after World War II?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What is the largest twin-screw ocean liner ever built?

Answer - The largest twin-screw ocean liner ever built was Cunard's QE2.
courtesy of Robert in Newport News, Virginia


Cruise News - July 31, 2017

Royal Caribbean Reports Second Quarter Earnings
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today reported US GAAP and Adjusted Earnings per Share ("EPS") of $1.71 for the second quarter. This represents EPS growth of nearly 60% over same time last year. Better than anticipated performance in the second quarter combined with favorable booking trends are driving an increase in Royal Caribbean's full year Adjusted EPS guidance to a range of $7.35 to $7.45.

SECOND QUARTER RESULTS

US GAAP and Adjusted Net Income for the second quarter 2017 was $369.5 million or $1.71 per share, compared to US GAAP Net Income of $229.9 million or $1.06 per share and Adjusted Net Income of $235.2 million, or $1.09 per share in 2016.

Gross Yields were up 10.2% on a Constant-Currency basis. Net Yields on a Constant-Currency basis increased 11.5%, exceeding prior guidance due to strong close-in demand driving higher pricing and occupancy.

Gross Cruise Costs increased 1.2% on a Constant-Currency basis. Constant-Currency NCC Excluding Fuel decreased 0.9%.

Bunker pricing net of hedging for the second quarter was $527 per metric ton and consumption was 324,000 metric tons.

FULL YEAR 2017

Royal Caribbean updated full year Adjusted EPS guidance to a range of $7.35 to $7.45, a $0.30 increase at the midpoint versus previous guidance. Bookings continue to be very robust.

Royal Caribbean's booked position for the remainder of 2017 continues to set new records. Looking further ahead, Royal Caribbean's booked position for the next twelve months is also strong, up on both rate and volume, versus the same time last year. Net Yields for the year on a Constant-Currency basis are expected to increase 5.5% to 6.0%, up relative to prior guidance due to the better results in the second quarter as well as stronger trends for the balance of the year.

NCC Excluding Fuel are expected to be up approximately 1.0% on a Constant-Currency basis for the year.

"Demand has remained strong, and we have captured the related revenue opportunity," said Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO. "These demand trends and continued cost discipline have resulted in the highest second quarter earnings in company history and have put us in position for another record year and achieving our Double-Double targets."

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it expects 2017 EPS to be in the range of $7.35 to $7.45 per share.

THIRD QUARTER 2017

Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to be up 4.0% to 4.5% in the third quarter of 2017. Strong demand trends for Europe and North America products are driving improvement over an already strong previous year. NCC Excluding Fuel are expected to be up approximately 4.0% on a Constant-Currency basis.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it expects third quarter Adjusted EPS to be approximately $3.45 per share.

HAL Offers More Ways to Experience the Panama Canal in 2017-18 with Eight Ships and 35 Cruises
Travelers who want to transit the lakes and locks of the Panama Canal will have eight Holland America Line ships and 19 cruises to choose from between fall 2017 through spring 2018. In addition to the full transits, ms Zuiderdam will offer two Southern Caribbean & Panama Canal Sunfarer itineraries that feature a partial transit through the Panama Canal.

"With transits ranging from 14 to 23 days, Holland America Line provides guests more ways to experience the famous waterway than any other premium cruise line. During the 2017–18 season, Holland America Line's full and partial transits will carry more than 400,500 guests through the Central American man-made marvel.

"The Panama Canal is among the greatest engineering feats of our time, and its easy access from a U.S. home port makes it one of the most popular longer itineraries we feature," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "There's no better way to become more immersed in the world than by experiencing something like the Panama Canal, where history comes to life as you witness up close what it took to connect these two oceans. Everyone should transit the Panama Canal at least once in their lifetime."

See Two Oceans on Full Panama Canal Transit
From September 2017 through May 2018, ms Amsterdam, ms Eurodam, ms Maasdam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Westerdam and ms Zaandam will make 19 transits between the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean from five departure cities. Guests can set sail from Boston, Mass.; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; San Diego and San Francisco, California; and Vancouver, British Columbia. Cruise rates start at $1,199.

In addition to visiting the Panama Canal, the 14- to 23-day cruises include a variety of port calls along the way. On the full transits the guests will visit destinations in Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Caribbean. Additionally, most sailings visit Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line's award-winning private Bahamian island known for its pristine beaches, exciting shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and child-friendly activities.

Aruba, Bahamas and the Panama Canal on Partial Transits
In addition to the full transits, Zuiderdam will make sixteen partial transits between November 2017 and April 2018. The 10- and 11-day Southern Caribbean & Panama Canal Sunfarer itineraries include an exploration of the Canal's Gatún Lake and a combination of Southern Caribbean calls in Aruba, Bonaire, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Grand Cayman, Panama and Half Moon Cay. Cruise rates start at $1,099.

Explorations Central (EXC) Brings Panamanian Culture on Board
Throughout the voyages, EXC programming brings Panama's local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life on board. Through EXC Encounters, guests can practice their language skills, find out about local customs, or enjoy the simple pleasure of storytelling. Those who want to learn more can attend an EXC Talk where a Panama Canal expert recounts the history and drama of constructing the famous waterway. A Panamanian market on the Lido Deck is a highlight of the voyage where guests can indulge in regional delicacies such as empanadas, arroz con pollo, ropa vieja and pastel de tres leches.

The EXC Team will provide further customized guidance for the port calls, and online EXC Port Planners in partnership with AFAR Media offer exclusive tips and information for each destination. The in-stateroom EXC Channel will feature a selection of curated films, documentaries and TV shows exploring destinations on the ship's itinerary.

Cunard Welcomes Same-Sex Marriages on its Iconic Three Ships
Cunard announced this week that it has welcomed its first booking by a same-sex couple following a recent Supreme Court ruling enabling same-sex marriages in Bermuda, where Cunard's fleet of ships is registered.

The ruling means that Cunard, which has offered weddings on its ships for the past five years and has married over 250 couples, is one of the first British cruise lines to be able to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies at sea.

"Cunard is proud to become among the first cruise lines to offer same-sex marriages at sea," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "Cunard has brought people together through travel for over 175 years, and we're proud to mark another milestone in our company's history as we welcome our first gay marriage booking and many other marriages to come."

Wedding ceremonies will be performed by the ship's Captain* and the marriage license will be issued by Bermuda.

Same-sex couples can now purchase a Cunard Wedding at Sea package, which includes:

• A romantic ceremony at sea conducted by the Captain*
• Wedding ceremony venue with floral arrangements
• Traditional wedding music
• Services of the on-board Wedding Coordinator
• Attendance of a professional photographer at the ceremony
• Commemorative wedding certificate
• An official copy of the marriage certificate
• The cost of the license fees
• A bottle of Champagne in the cabin on arrival
• Champagne for a toast after the ceremony
• Invitations and thank you notes
• Wedding outfit pressing service

Victory Cruise Lines to Sail to Cuba Starting Feb. 8, 2018
Victory Cruise Lines Victory I begins a series of six cruises this winter that will circumnavigate the island of Cuba roundtrip from Port of Miami. The inaugural Cuba cruise for the 202-passenger Victory I will depart Miami Feb. 8, 2018. The 14-night itinerary will feature five Cuban ports and overnight calls at the island's capital of Havana, historic Santiago de Cuba and Trinidad, with day calls at Cienfuegos, affectionately called "La Perla del Sur" by the locals, and Maria la Gorda.

Staying true to its all-inclusive philosophy, Victory Cruise Lines includes all shipboard cuisine and beverages (including spirits), as well as all shore excursions and port experiences, all in one price.

"We may not be the first cruise line to serve Cuba from the U.S., but we believe — and travel agents have told us — that we have created the best itinerary with our multiday port experiences that will allow our guests to really explore the country and its people in a more relaxed and well-paced way," said Bruce Nierenberg, president and CEO of Victory Cruise Lines. "Most cruise ships are too big to call anywhere except Havana and no cruise product has as many multiday stops in Cuba as Victory I. All Victory I 'Cuba 360' cruises will completely circumnavigate the island nation.

"What also distinguishes Victory Cruise Lines from other operators in Cuba is our intimate, classically furnished Victory I, which offers the finest dining and highest service levels in the market," Nierenberg said. "Add to that our immersive shore excursions and creative port experiences and our guests will have an unmatched opportunity to really get to know the culture and people of this undiscovered region and largest country in the Caribbean."

VCL's "The Best of Cuba Voyages" will sail roundtrip from Miami. All Victory cruises to Cuba fully comply with all U.S. regulations for Americans traveling to Cuba including recent regulatory changes announced by President Donald Trump and the U.S. State Department. All Cuban shore experiences will operate within U.S. guidelines for American travelers visiting Cuba. Victory Cruise Lines will provide certification of compliance with U.S. regulations for all guests on Victory I.

Victory I departs from Miami Feb. 8 and 22, March 9 and 24, and April 7 and 20, 2018. All-inclusive full fares start at $8,957 per person, double occupancy.

The 2018 winter season ends with an 11-day "Cuba and Colonial America" repositioning cruise that begins May 5 with a short flight from Miami to Havana (included) and an overnight stay at Havana. Victory I then departs Havana May 6 and will call at Jacksonville (St. Augustine), Florida; Charleston (Mount Pleasant), South Carolina; Norfolk (Yorktown), Virginia; Newport, Rhode Island; and Gloucester (Boston), Massachusetts, ending in Portland, Maine. Fares start at $6,890 per person, double occupancy.

Victory I will then reposition with an 11-day voyage from Portland to Toronto, Ontario, for a summer season of "Great Lakes Grand Discovery" cruises between Toronto and Chicago, Illinois.

Crystal Unveils New 'Getaways' For 2017
Crystal is expanding its numerous options for travelers seeking to explore the world in luxury, as the company unveils brand new "Crystal Getaways" for both Crystal Cruises and Crystal River Cruises. The Crystal Getaways – which span the globe to include the British Isles, Western Europe, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe along the Rhine River – are shortened itineraries of existing longer voyages, allowing travelers to experience Crystal's celebrated luxury with less commitment of time and additional savings.

"Luxury travelers continue to seek unparalleled service, amenities and experiences when they explore the world, even with limited time," says Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez. "Crystal Getaways allow travelers to enjoy a standard of luxury, excellence and unforgettable adventures, without stressing their calendars – while also realizing tremendous savings on the all-inclusive Crystal Experience."

In all, 17 abbreviated Crystal Getaways have been added to Crystal's 2017 roster of worldwide voyages, exploring the lush islands of the Seychelles, the UNESCO-recognized wine country of Bordeaux, the grandeur and innovation of the United Arab Emirates, the coast of the Cape of Good Hope, and the sparkling Christmas markets of Germany, Austria and Hungary. The 2017 Getaways include:

Crystal Cruises

• August 13, Honfleur to Liverpool, 5 days, Crystal Symphony
• August 18, Liverpool to London/Dover, 6 days, Crystal Symphony
• August 25, London/Dover to Bordeaux, 6 days, Crystal Symphony
• August 31, Bordeaux to Lisbon, 6 days, Crystal Symphony
• November 22, Dubai to Abu Dhabi, 4 days, Crystal Symphony
• November 26, Abu Dhabi to Port Louis, 13 days, Crystal Symphony
• December 1, Mahé/Victoria to Port Louis, 8 days, Crystal Symphony
• December 6, Fort Lauderdale to Barbados/Bridgetown, 8 days, Crystal Serenity
• December 9, Port Louis to Maputo, 7 days, Crystal Symphony
• December 14, Barbados/Bridgetown to Charleston, 6 days, Crystal Serenity
• December 16, Maputo to Cape Town, 6 days, Crystal Symphony

Crystal River Cruises

• November 17, Amsterdam to Nuremberg, 7 days, Crystal Mahler
• November 24, Nuremberg to Budapest, 9 days, Crystal Mahler
• December 3, Budapest to Nuremberg, 9 days, Crystal Mahler
• December 12, Nuremberg to Amsterdam, 7 days, Crystal Mahler
• December 19, Amsterdam to Nuremberg, 7 days, Crystal Mahler
• December 26, Nuremberg to Budapest, 9 days, Crystal Mahler

Crystal Skye Joins The Crystal Fleet
Today, Crystal AirCruises welcomed the newest member of its expanding fleet, Crystal Skye, during an official handover ceremony held at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington. The exquisitely outfitted Boeing 777-200LR was delivered to Crystal's CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez from Greenpoint Technologies. Crystal Skye is the largest privately owned tour jet in the world and is deployed for chartered service, accommodating some of the world's most discriminating groups and travelers. Crystal Skye will be christened in Las Vegas on August 12.

"We are ecstatic to welcome Crystal Skye to the family, as she marks the beginning of a new chapter and realm of luxury travel for guests who seek the unmatched Crystal Experience," says Rodriguez. "As we embark on new global adventures with Crystal Skye, we are inspired by the shared vision of our own experts and those at Greenpoint Technologies, who brought this sky-high dream to fruition."

With a spacious design for up to 88 guests, Crystal Skye is appointed with features rarely found in even the most luxurious private jets. She has the highest crew to passenger ratio of any twin-aisle aircraft and a non-stop range of 19.5 hours, allowing travelers to explore the far reaches of the earth while enjoying the personalized service for which Crystal is renowned worldwide. Bespoke Crystal Exclusive Class™ seats are designed for maximum personal space and ergonomic comfort, and convert to 180-degree lie-flat beds. The expansive social lounge with stand-up bar fosters friendly camaraderie among luxury travelers. Cuisine will be prepared by an executive chef, in two state-of-the-art galleys and paired with an elegant premium wine list from the Crystal SkyeCellar.

Crystal collaborated with Greenpoint Technologies for the extremely specialized development of Crystal Skye, as the company is renowned for its innovation and leadership in the creation of superior aircraft design. Greenpoint Technologies worked alongside Crystal's own experts to conceive the standard of excellence and luxury required to ensure the unparalleled guest experience aboard a Crystal vessel, then brought the vision to life. The interior installation of Crystal Skye began in August 2016 at Greenpoint's Moses Lake facility in Washington, focusing on exclusive features such as a 24-seat lounge with a central bar, sofas, custom coved ceilings, the largest wine cellar in the sky and ample space to socialize. Stone veneers, colored LED lighting and other premium details adorn the extraordinary interior.

Bret Neely, Executive Vice President at Greenpoint Technologies says, "Our goal for this program was to create a luxurious interior showcasing the elegant brand Crystal has established with their cruise ships, yachts, and riverboats. Greenpoint is a company built on Teamwork. Both internally and externally with our customers. It was amazing to see the combined core team come together to focus on Crystal's guest experience, resulting in the beautiful and functional interior we see today."

Boeing 777 Crystal Skye is operated for Crystal AirCruises by Comlux Aruba NV.

On Cruise Vacations, Wine's Popular Pastime
Cruise vacations are an increasingly popular way to relax, unwind and recharge. And while at sea, there's opportunity for guests to embrace some of life's most enjoyable pleasures – with wine-tasting and learning about wines an area of interest for many. Whether guests are curious beginners or connoisseurs, shipboard wine collections are carefully curated to excite the senses with both classic and new tastes.

The efforts that go into the wine collections at sea are being recognized by wine experts as being extraordinary.

Carnival Cruise Line recently earned a prestigious 2017 Wine Spectator Award. The world's largest cruise line was applauded for its handpicked selections, chosen to complement the cuisine at the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouses aboard Carnival Vista, Carnival Breeze and Carnival Sunshine.

On cruise ships, wine-loving guests may choose a bottle from wine lists or purchase a valued-priced, multi-bottle wine package from a menu. Main dining rooms, specialty restaurants and wine bars also offer selections by the glass, allowing for experimentation.

Oenophile-focused shore excursions at select ports take you right to the vineyards for discussion about winemaking with vintners – in places such as Italy, France, New Zealand and Australia. On its Pacific Wine Country itineraries, Princess Cruises offers guests opportunity to tour wineries including in California's Sonoma County.

Onboard wine seminars provide guests opportunity to chat with experienced sommeliers and sample different varietals. Cruise lines such as Germany's AIDA Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia also offer theme cruises focused on food and wine, which bring additional experts onboard.

"A cruise vacation is a great time to try something new, and when it comes to wine, that is very much encouraged by the sommeliers onboard," said Jo Poelmans, senior manager, restaurant and bar operations for ultra-luxury line Seabourn.

"Wine is fashionable and also entertaining onboard ships," added Csaba Imre Szentpaly-Toth, Cellar Master on the Holland America Line's ms Zaandam. "Guests have opportunity on a concentrated basis to open their eyes to the secret world of winemaking, sommeliers, the art of food and wine pairing and the exciting history of wine-producing regions and people. We can lift the veil and introduce guests to new tastes and the rediscovery of old favorites."

Cruise lines select bottles from vintners around the world. Carnival Cruise Line alone orders hundreds of thousands of bottles of wine each year. Each of the line's 25 ships carries about 5,000 bottles of wine at any one time, with the stocks constantly being replenished.

Carnival Cruise Line's bestselling wines include Layer Cake Cabernet, Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc and Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, said Eddie Allen, vice president of beverage operations for Carnival Cruise Line. In main dining rooms, the wine menu features more than 100 wines available by the bottle and some 30 selections available by the glass.

For a quiet sip, visit The Library Bar on the Carnival Breeze, Carnival Sunshine or Carnival Vista (and coming next year on the new Carnival Horizon). In the relaxing, library-themed oasis, you can pour your own tastes from state-of-the-art self-serve wine dispensers.

The 12 ships of AIDA Cruises stock nearly 100 varieties from famous wine regions including in Germany, France and the United States, said Johannes Nagel, AIDA Cruises' senior manager of hotel services

The cruise line has its own branded AIDA Selection wine, a Frühburgunder (pinot madeleine), developed with Germany's Brogsitter winery. To celebrate the recent christening of the AIDAperla, AIDA Cruises is also serving a special Prima Perla Prosecco from the Veneto region of Italy.

Italy's wine heritage is at the forefront on Italian line Costa Cruises. The line recently partnered with The Wine Bank in Pollenzo, Italy (a cooperative founded by Carlo Petrini of International Slow Food Movement fame), on a sustainable and organic wine list – which features more than 100 labels from Italy and around the world. The line's traditional wine list also has iconic selections from Italy and elsewhere.

The most popular wine on Costa Cruises ships is a sparkling Demi-Sec from the Ferrari collection, said Marco Serra, a Costa Cruises corporate sommelier.

"Ferrari winery is an important piece of Italian wine history and on our ships you may find the entire Ferrari collection," Serra said. "The Trento Doc Ferrari Demi-Sec is obtained from Chardonnay grapes that are grown on the steep slopes of the mountains of Trentino."

On several of the ships of British line P&O Cruises, The Glass House restaurant is a stylish, sea-view haven for lovers of good food and wine. Award-winning wine expert, food connoisseur and TV personality Olly Smith (who comes onboard the ships several times a year to lead food and wine experiences) handpicked the bespoke collection of specialty wines, which includes classics and off-the-beaten-path blends. Forty wines are available by the glass and paired with tapas. The idea, according to Smith, is to spend the evening sipping and tasting in a "no snobbery" experience.

On the ships of P&O Cruises Australia, connoisseurs and newbies alike will want to check out selections that include labels from the renowned Hunter Valley, about 90 miles north of Sydney. With its five-ship fleet, P&O purchases nearly 100,000 bottles of wine from the Australian region each year – having a significant positive impact on local winemakers.

Onboard Pacific Aria, Pacific Dawn, Pacific Eden and Pacific Jewel, The Cellar Door wine bar is an innovative venue for tastings, master classes and seminars, run by onboard staff.

The venerable Cunard line shows its passion for wine in a collection that encompasses labels from the world's most famous Old World vineyards, tempting New World wines and carefully selected examples from smaller boutique vineyards.

Expert sommeliers onboard the three Cunard ocean liners assist guests with making their selections from an impressive, 48-page wine list. There's also a handy tasting guide rating white wines on a scale of very dry to luscious and red wines from light to full bodied.

Rare wines are available by the bottle or by the glass, via Cunard's groundbreaking Coravin system – which allows pours without removing the original cork. Among the precious tastes is a Cha^teau Lafite Rothschild. Guests might also choose a First Growth Wine Flight, featuring the five Premiers Crus of the Me´doc, complete with an explanation of their common theme and differences.

Cunard's wine list also includes the line's own private label of four varietals made from grapes from France's upper Minervois – there's a wonderfully complex chardonnay/viognier, cabernet sauvignon, Grenache/Syrah/Mourve`dre and a Grenache/Syrah Rose´.

For those serious about pursuing wine education, Cunard partners with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the world's largest provider of wine and spirits qualifications, for courses offered shipboard.

In the Princess Cruises fleet, the Royal Princess and Regal Princess boast the largest at-sea collections of Super Tuscans – representing most of the brands available worldwide. Selections are showcased at the Tuscan-inspired specialty restaurant Sabatini's. To try a variety, sign up for the Super Tuscan Wine Tasting.

At the Vines Wine Bar, in a charming corner of the Piazza atrium on all of Princess Cruises' Grand- and Royal-class ships, there's opportunity to sample a selection of dozens of vintage wines and sparking wines. The menu includes wine flights and a selection of wines by the glass, served with complimentary gourmet nibbles. A new experience with Napa's Silverado Vineyards provides guests opportunity to try their hand at wine blending.

Wine connoisseurs on Regal Princess might consider booking a Wine Maker's Dinner, a unique, intimate dining experience held in a private space inspired by a wine cellar. The menus are developed in conjunction with noted winemakers and paired with matching wines.

Guests on Seabourn enjoy carefully chosen complimentary wines and champagne from a list of more than 40 varietals, while connoisseurs may choose additional options from a premium wine menu featuring more than 160 wine and 18 champagne labels.

Particularly impressive on Seabourn are selections from some small, family-operated vineyards in Napa – some are arranged via the cruise line's connection with culinary partner Thomas Keller, arguably America's greatest chef.

"We are honored to offer wines from Colgin Cellers and Lail Vineyards, for example, allowing our guests to try these extraordinary vintages," said the line's Poelmans. "We also carry some of the most exclusive French wines onboard such as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. At the end of the day, we're Seabourn and we strive to deliver the best."

Holland America Line guests can choose from some 200 labels available at any one time, said the Zaandam's Szentpaly-Toth. The wine list changes by itinerary and destination, with separate lists for the main dining room and specialty restaurants.

"Our American guests are immensely interested in the European chic of wine history and sampling those vintages from France and Italy," Szentpaly-Toth said. "Our European crowd would try almost anything they can from California to Washington State."

The best sellers onboard Holland America Line ships include non-oak, barrel-aged whites, Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs from New Zealand and Super Tuscans. Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line, has his name on a private label Super Tuscan that has resonated well with guests, Szentpaly-Toth said.

On the ms Koningsdam, there is also opportunity for guests to create their own wine at BLEND, a wine-blending experience offered in cooperation with Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington State's oldest winery.

Cellar masters on each of the Holland America Line ships sample wines, visit vineyards and are attentive to guests, both at tasting events and seminars and one-on-one. "I find our guests falling in love with our wine

Here are five tips from shipboard sommeliers:

  1. Let your wine steward know what you plan to order for your meal. He or she might suggest you order a powerful, fruity wine with your rack of lamb, for instance.
  2. Try wine with dessert. Sweet wine, such as a Moscato, pairs well with the bitterness of chocolate.
  3. Consider ordering wine based on the countries you are visiting. You might go for a Spanish wine in the Mediterranean or a Chilean wine in South America.
  4. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Shipboard sommeliers and wine experts are there to help take your wine experience to the next level.
  5. Ask about the history and origin or the wines you order. There are stories behind the creation

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.78 - 0.31%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 113.07 - 2.31%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.30 + 1.32%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.07 - 1.18%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What is the largest twin-screw ocean liner ever built?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which ocean liner had the first on-board movie theater/cinema?

Answer - The first theater/Cinema at sea was aboard the French Lines Normandie of 1935.
courtesy of Dave in LA


Cruise News - July 24, 2017

Victory Cruise Lines Acquires Second Ship
Victory Cruise Lines announced this week that it has acquired the sister ship of its sole vessel, the 202-passenger Victory I.

The acquired ship, to be called Victory II, will enter service in May 2018 starting with a series of seven-night Canada/New England coastal itineraries between Gloucester, Mass., and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Ports of call are Provincetown, Mass.; Newport, R.I.; Plymouth, Mass.; Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.; Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine; and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

"Our goal is to be the first choice in cruising the Great Lakes, Canada, the St. Lawrence Seaway and New England markets,” said Bruce Nierenberg, president and CEO of Victory Cruise Lines.

The line said it would pioneer a Lake Superior itinerary with Victory II, visiting Marquette and Houghton, Mich.; Duluth, Minn.; and Thunder Bay, Ontario. These itineraries also will feature Milwaukee, Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay, Wisc.; and Muskegon, Mich.

The two Victory Cruise Lines vessels were originally built as the Cape May Light and Cape Cod Light in 2001. Victory gained possession of the first vessel after the bankruptcy of the defunct Haimark Line in 2016.

Costa Cruises Launches Program To Battle Food Waste
Costa Cruises announced this week that they have joined forces with the Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus on a project that will allow surplus food on board cruise ships to be retrieved and reused for the first time to help society. The project is being officially launched today on board Costa Diadema, the Italian company's flagship, during its call at Savona, and it involves collecting food on board that has been prepared but not served in the ship's restaurants and distributing it to a local organisation that provides assistance to children in need.

The launch was attended by the Hon. Maria Chiara Gadda, promoter and sponsor of the Italian Law 166/2016 in favour of donations of surplus food and the Senator Andrea Olivero, Italian Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

"Being here today shows that the law against food waste, in force since last September, is bearing fruit and that the government has acted promptly and effectively, and most importantly has triggered a cultural change on the issue of the battle against food waste and support for those in poverty. We must be aware of the widespread responsibility that this issue brings with it and that involves everyone, to different extents and in different ways, be they institutions, citizens, volunteers or the business world, because everyone can play their own part to help change things," said Deputy Minister Andrea Olivero.

"I'm thrilled, and it's a great source of pride for me to see that the innovation introduced by Law 166/2016, approved by the Italian Parliament with an overwhelming majority and strongly supported by the government, is bearing fruit. This is proof that politics is useful, and very much so: Parliament has been able to put needs and good practices into order. Today, this ambitious project is sending out an important message: retrieving surpluses even in the most complex situations is not just a pipe dream, but it is genuinely achievable if everyone takes on their share of responsibility," said the Hon. Maria Chiara Gadda.

"After the Gadda Law against food waste came into effect," said Andrea Giussani, President of the Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus, "we worked with Costa Cruises for eight months to organise a food surplus management procedure that would allow us to salvage high-quality and high-nutritional value food. Today we are very happy to know that this food will not be wasted but will be given to an organisation that provides assistance to children, at a time when ISTAT tells us that child poverty in Italy "has risen from 3.9% in 2005 to 12.5% in 2016. From now on, we will be focussing on extending this best practice to other ports in Italy, and we hope that all stakeholders will collaborate, as has happened in Savona."

"We are very proud of this initiative: it is something that is brand new for the cruise sector and something that Costa has been very keen to see take place. The Banco Alimentare is an authoritative partner and a point of reference in the fight against food waste, and it will allow us to donate surplus food to the people who need it most. We are beginning with Savona and our flagship Costa Diadema, but the common goal is to involve more and more ships and ports in Italy and the Mediterranean. Since preparing food for disembarkation is a unique occurrence, it has led to the direct participation of the Customs Agency and Maritime Health Organisation Agency in putting the finishing touches to the procedures for delivery, and it shows that it is possible to turn the opportunities provided by Law 166/2016 into something worthwhile. All this is a starting point for anyone who wants to join us in the maritime sector," said Neil Palomba, President of Costa Cruises.

All year round Costa Diadema sails on one-week cruises in the Mediterranean that call at Savona on Saturdays. Every Friday, before the ship arrives in Savona, at the end of dinner, all dishes prepared in the restaurants and not served to guests (the "ready to eat" meals) will be collected. They will be placed in special aluminium containers that will be sealed and labelled to ensure that they can be traced, and then stored in the refrigerators on board. The next morning, after the ship docks at Savona, the containers will be unloaded and delivered to the Banco Alimentare volunteers, who will take them to Varazze (a town near Savona), to the Fondazione L'Ancora, which runs accommodation that is home to 20 children, as well as providing food aid to over 280 people in need, including refugees.

"The social impact of the Gadda Law is very important for organisations like ours," says Fausto Romano, Director of the Fondazione L'Ancora Onlus, "that assists people in need in overcoming the most difficult phases in their lives. The Fondazione L'Ancora ONLUS has responded enthusiastically to the collaboration with Costa Cruises and Banco Alimentare to devise a plan for collecting and distributing food surpluses, which means we will receive varied and excellent quality food. Last but not least, from an educational perspective, the issue of reducing waste and of food as a gift is an important communication and growth tool for the children." The Costa Cruises and Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus project, aimed at assisting those affected by poverty and social exclusion, has also been possible thanks to Law 166/2016 against food and pharmaceutical waste promoted by the Hon. Maria Chiara Gadda that came into effect on 14 September 14 2016. The law restructures the regulatory framework concerning donations of unsold foods with simplification, harmonization and incentive measures, making it easier to donate any type of food in a controlled and safe way like before, but most importantly it gives priority to retrieving food to be donated to the poorest people in our country.

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces 2017/2018 Meet the Wine Maker Cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line today revealed the lineup for the brand’s 2017/18 Meet The Winemaker Cruises, a selection of cruises aboard Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Dawn during which guests will have the opportunity to wine and dine with leaders and legends of the winemaking industry. The full series was revealed during the first Winemaker Dinner cruise of the season, held this week on Norwegian Escape and featuring Antonio Hidalgo, President of Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana. Hidalgo represents the 8th generation of the sherry winery, family owned and operated since 1792. Norwegian’s Winemaker Dinner series is hosted at the line’s popular wine venue The Cellars, a Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar, and is in celebration of Norwegian’s successful ongoing partnership with the family and other valued beverage partners, including Moët Hennessy.

“Given the incredible reception of Michael Mondavi’s past visits aboard our ships, we are excited to expand upon this concept to provide our guests the opportunity to get up close and personal with renowned experts within the winemaking industry,” said Mark Kansley, senior vice president of Hotel Operations for Norwegian Cruise Line. “As we strive to continually enhance our beverage program and onboard offerings, these partnerships represent our ongoing goal to serve as innovators in the cruising industry.”

In 2015, the Michael Mondavi Family partnered with Norwegian to introduce the line’s first branded wine bar aboard Norwegian Escape - The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar - boasting a curated wine list and service provided by a Court of Master Sommeliers certified Sommelier. The venue invites guests to participate in a variety of interactive, fun and educational wine activities including seminars, tastings, pairings and workshops. This partnership was further expanded upon when The Cellars opened aboard Norwegian Dawn in 2016 after ship-wide enhancements. Mondavi is recognized as one of the global emissaries of California wine and is widely credited with helping to establish and build the Napa Valley wine industry as we know it. The newly-announced series of sailings evolves from the popular and well-received visits Mondavi has made to Norwegian Escape in celebration of the partnership.

Guests aboard these select sailings will have several opportunities to engage with the wine makers and experts, enhancing their onboard experience with a variety of enriching seminars and activities. On the second day of each cruise, guests will have the chance to dive into the seasoned minds of the visiting experts with an open-forum question and answer session, held in the Atrium of the ship. Following the open forum, guests will have the chance to purchase featured wines selected by the wine makers and varietals from the ship’s wine list, meet the expert and have him sign the bottle to take home as a memento. The open forum and personal meet and greet are complimentary and open to all guests.

For a more intimate experience, guests can indulge in an interactive, hands-on wine tasting and educational seminar hosted by the vintner in The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar. The vintner will take the guests on a tour of the winemaking world and the elements that complement it, providing tailored insight into their specific area of expertise. The tastings will feature wines hand-picked by the expert and brought on board for the seminar. Pricing for the tastings will be $19.95 per person.

Guests seeking an unforgettable gourmet experience can attend an exclusive wine dinner, hosted by the vintner or industry expert. They will be treated to a truly special event, consisting of five decadent courses paired with wine specifically chosen for each course. The cost of the dinner with wine pairings is $59.95 per person. Seating is limited for both the tasting seminars and wine pairing dinner and reservations will only be available on board the ship. The full lineup of the 2017/18 Meet The Winemaker series includes:

• September 22, 2017 - Norwegian Dawn: Michael Mondavi, founder of the Michael Mondavi Family Estate, co-founder of Folio Fine Wine Partners and co-founder of The Cellars - A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar. Mondavi represents the third generation representative of the prestigious family of wineries in Napa Valley.

• November 4, 2017 - Norwegian Escape: Bill Whiting, Director of Wine Education at Banfi Vintners. As the grandson of John F. Mariani Sr., founder of Banfi Vintners, Whiting carries on the tradition of the award-winning Castello Banfi estate, founded in 1919 in the Brunello region of Tuscany.

• December 2, 2017 - Norwegian Escape: Aarón Sánchez. Famed TV Chef and James Beard award winner, Aarón Sánchez is the official ambassador and spokesperson for Terrazas de los Andes wines and is considered one of the world’s leading contemporary Latin chefs.

• February 17, 2018 - Norwegian Escape: Gerard Bertrand, renowned vintner of Languedoc-Roussillon. Bertrand, a legendary expert in the winemaking industry, boasts 20 years of experience and a breadth of awards and accolades.

• March 2018, Norwegian Escape: Salvatore Ferragamo, heir of famed Italian fashion house and owner at Il Borro Winery in Tuscany, Italy. Salvatore, whose father Ferruccio, bought the beautiful Il Borro Esatate in 1993, has replanted the family's vineyard and has been releasing delicious Tuscan wines since 1999.

Norwegian Dawn sails to Bermuda from June through October and to Canada & New England in September and October from her seasonal homeport in Boston. The ship boasts 14 delicious dining options including Los Lobos Cantina, an upscale Mexican restaurant and brand-new concept for the Norwegian fleet; 11 bars and lounges; activities for every member of the family, whether they are young or young at heart; fabulous entertainment including Elements, an enchanting performance showcasing the four elements of Earth, Air, Water and Fire, and The Second City, Chicago’s legendary comedy theatre; and a wide variety of accommodations including the 6,694 sq. ft. Garden Villas, the largest suites at sea.

Norwegian Escape, currently sailing the Eastern and Western Caribbean from her homeport in Miami, features 27 dining options, 21 bars and lounges, and entertainment options to thrill cruisers of all ages with the largest Ropes Course at sea, the largest Aqua Park at sea, and dedicated adults-only and kids-only spaces including the brand’s first nursery offering supervised care for young cruisers ages six months to two years old. The ship offers dazzling entertainment and a variety of flexible accommodations including Norwegian’s Studio staterooms designed and priced for solo travelers, family staterooms that accommodate up to four guests, and expansive suites in The Haven™, Norwegian’s ship-within-a-ship luxury suite complex featuring amenities including private butler and concierge service, exclusive restaurant and private pool, courtyard and sundeck. In April 2018, Norwegian Escape will reposition for the first time since she was christened in 2015, sailing from New York City to Bermuda on seven-day cruises to every Sunday, offering New York-area guests a new ship to enjoy.

Carnival Cruise Line Hosts Seuss-a-Palooza Event Aboard Carnival Fantasy
Carnival Cruise Line celebrated its partnership with the Port of Mobile and greater Mobile community today by hosting a Seuss-a-Palooza event for kids attending the YMCA of South Alabama Summer Camp program. The event aboard Carnival Fantasy, which is homeported year-round in Mobile, was highlighted by a Green Eggs and Ham brunch with The Cat in the Hat and Friends, a Seuss-a-Palooza Story Time and Parade and other Dr. Seuss–inspired activities that are featured on Carnival cruises.

During the event, Carnival made a $20,000 donation to the YMCA of South Alabama, reinforcing the cruise line’s commitment to supporting its homeport communities. Carnival Fantasy sails from Mobile on four- to 10-day cruises to destinations across The Bahamas, eastern and western Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. The ship carries approximately 170,000 guests a year from Mobile.

“The event today was a terrific opportunity to celebrate our long-standing relationship with the Port of Mobile and demonstrate that we’re proud to be community partners,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “The partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises is unique to Carnival and we were happy to share this fun experience with such a great group of kids from the Mobile area.”

Today’s festivities are part of Seuss at Sea, Carnival’s exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises that features fleetwide activities like the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends, the Seuss-a-Palooza Parade and Story Time, Dr. Seuss Bookville, a family reading venue on select ships, character interactions, Dr. Seuss toys and games, and popular movies shown on board.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.99 - 0.04%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 115.74 + 3.81%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.27 - 1.30%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.73 + 2.96%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ocean liner had the first on-board movie theater/cinema?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which Holland America ship caught fire and sank off the Alaska coast in October 1980 while on a positioning cruise from Vancouver to the Orient? Her 524 passengers and crew were evacuated safely.

Answer - The HAL ship which sank off Alaska in 1980 was the handsome 9,000-tonner PRINSENDAM. HAL Captain Menke (who was not serving in Prinsendam at the time of the mishap) used to say she was his favourite ship and praised her ability to "stop on a dime."
courtesy of David Rodstein


Cruise News - July 17, 2017

Disney Cruise Line Announces Plans For Seventh Ship
Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, announced plans today at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif., to add a seventh ship to Disney Cruise Line's fleet, giving families even more opportunities to create magical memories at sea and visit spectacular destinations around the globe.

Last year, the leader in family cruising announced plans to build two new ships at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany with scheduled completion dates of 2021 and 2023. The seventh ship will be built at the same shipyard and is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

"We decided two ships wouldn't be enough to hold all of the exciting new experiences we have been dreaming up to take family cruise vacations to a whole new level with immersive Disney storytelling, world-class family entertainment, and imaginative innovations that are fantastically fun and uniquely Disney," Chapek said. "By the time all three new ships are sailing, we'll have nearly doubled the size of our existing fleet."

All ship names, design plans and itineraries are still in development, with each of the ships expected to have their own unique experiences. The three new ships will be powered by clean-burning liquefied natural gas and be the same size – approximately 135,000 gross tons with about 1,250 guest staterooms planned – which is slightly larger than the newest Disney Cruise Line ships, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

Since first setting sail in 1998, Disney Cruise Line has provided a quintessential family cruise vacation experience that combines the magic of Disney with the wonder of exploring different parts of the world. Guests step aboard majestic and beautiful ocean liners to enjoy legendary Disney entertainment, exquisite dining, spacious and well-appointed staterooms and magnificent public spaces.

With the launch of the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy in 2011 and 2012, the company introduced several firsts for the industry, including a water coaster at sea (AquaDuck) and virtual portholes in interior staterooms (Magical Portholes) that provide real-time views of the sea as well as sightings of animated Disney characters. With a legacy of revolutionary design, Disney Cruise Line's new ships will usher in the next generation of innovative cruise experiences designed especially for families that will transform the art-of-cruising and take guests on adventures in a way never dreamed of before.

Major Donation Extends Campaign to Save the SS United States
It was down to the wire again for America's fabled flagship, the SS United States, but an eleventh-hour donation has given the vessel another short reprieve. A $150,000 contribution to the SS United States Conservancy's "We are the United States" campaign on the eve of its conclusion, has prompted a decision to extend the national fundraising and outreach effort to save the iconic vessel.

The Conservancy, a national nonprofit organization, was just days away from deciding the fate of the world's fastest ocean liner and only ship to bear the nation's name. The donation by cruise industry executive Jim Pollin will extend the grassroots fundraising campaign through mid-September.

The Conservancy had set a goal of raising $500,000 to keep the ship afloat back in May. To date, the "We are the United States" campaign has raised nearly $200,000. The organization's board of directors was scheduled to vote this week on whether to recycle or reef the historic ship.

"This donation gives us more time to raise additional resources for the ship's expenses as we continue to negotiate with prospective developers and secure a permanent location for the vessel," stated the Conservancy's executive director, Susan Gibbs. "Jim Pollin's passion for the SS United States is inspiring and extraordinary. He is a hero to all those who care about saving our nation's heritage."

The Conservancy, which saved the ship from certain destruction in 2011, is actively courting developers and investors to revitalize the vessel as a stationary, mixed-use, landmark destination. The organization is in a race against time to raise the funds to cover the ship's ongoing monthly carrying costs at its current pier in Philadelphia. The Conservancy is also committed to the long-term effort of locating, preserving and showcasing thousands of original artifacts, as well as archival documentation, from America's Flagship.

"There is no doubt in my mind that if the Conservancy can continue to keep the United States afloat that a viable option for her future will be presented," said Pollin. "So much of who we are as a country is represented by this great ship. Americans need to step up now to help save her. The United States is as much a part of our nation as the ground on which we live and work. We cannot allow her to be destroyed. It would be a terrible loss for the nation."

Pollin is the son of the late Abe Pollin who, together with his wife Irene, owned the Washington Capitals and Wizards professional sports teams. The Pollins were also central figures in the revitalization of downtown Washington D.C. and supported a range of philanthropic causes.

"We hope that this generous donation inspires others to contribute and help us secure a bright future for the SS United States. Sixty-five years ago this month the ship returned to New York after her record-breaking maiden voyage, and she became a national heroine. That America's Flagship remains afloat today is a remarkable testament to the ship's resilience and historical importance," said Gibbs.

New Itineraries Added To Crystal Mahler's 2018 Spring Season
Crystal River Cruisesthis week has unveiled four new 2018 itineraries for its second "Rhine Class" vessel, Crystal Mahler. In April and May next year, the brand new river ship will sail three seven-day "Danube Serenade" routes between Budapest and Vienna, and one 11-day "Reflections on the Danube" sailing. The new voyages are a shorter complement to Crystal Mahler's 16-day "Grand Europe" itineraries, which sail between Amsterdam and Budapest for most of the year, cruising the Rhine and Main Rivers.

"We're delighted to offer these new sailings aboard Crystal Mahler, allowing travelers to explore the beautiful locales along the Danube in the sleek luxury of our new 'Rhine Class' vessels, with the added convenience of shorter itineraries for those with limited time away," says Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez.

The newly added itineraries depart April 10, 17, 24 and May 1 and visit European hamlets including Krems, Spitz, Linz and Melk, Austria and Bratislava, Slovakia. Three of the voyages feature dedicated theme programming, including special guest Nancy Brinker – former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation – aboard the April 10 sailing discussing Art & Diplomacy, the annual "President's Cruise" with Edie Rodriguez on the April 24 sailing, and an in-depth focus on Jewish Heritage excursions aboard the May 1 sailing.

The added itineraries further enhance the all-inclusive Crystal River Cruises experience, which was recently recognized as the "Best River Cruise Line" in the 2017 Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards. The line's first ship, the 154-guest Crystal Mozart, currently sails itineraries along the Danube, while the "Rhine Class" new-builds will predominantly sail the Rhine and Main Rivers. Crystal Mahler will embark on her maiden voyage in September from Amsterdam, joining Crystal Bach on the mighty European waterways. Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel will join the luxurious fleet in 2018.

Princess Cruises Celebrates Newly Redesigned Camp Discovery Youth and Teen Centers
Hakeem Oluseyi of Science Channel and Tory Belleci of Discovery Channel's MythBusters were onboard the Grand Princess in San Francisco to celebrate Princess Cruises' new Camp Discovery youth and teen centers, conducting an official ribbon cutting.

At the start of the day, invited kids and their parents enjoyed special opportunities to participate in activities that highlighted Discovery at Sea programs on board. Oluseyi treated kids on board to a guided "stargazing," while Belleci spoke about Shark Myths. Kids then had the opportunity to play in the redesigned Camp Discovery.

Catering to specific age groups, there are three center themes in Camp Discovery. Kids and teens can make new friends and participate in activities specially designed to help them discover, play, create and huddle, including:

• The Treehouse, ages 3-7 (formerly Pelicans): A bright, whimsical forest and animal-themed center including captivating creatures and hands-on activities for kids to focus on play time, creativity and the world around them.

• The Lodge, ages 8-12 (formerly Shockwaves): Inspired by the great outdoors, this cozy center is filled with sports activities and fun places for kids to explore, hang out and lounge.

• The Beach House, for ages 13-17 (formerly Remix) offers a contemporary surf-themed lounge, featuring a cool place for teens to hang out and socialize.

New youth and teen center programming includes MythBusters science activities with hands-on challenges. In addition, new Camp Discovery destination-themed programs focusing on the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe will immerse young cruisers into the culture, nature and customs of these regions.

In addition, fun for the whole family can be enjoyed through a family fair in the Piazza featuring carnival-like booths and activities, family trivia, Stargazing with Discovery at Sea, family game night and new soon-to-be announced family-themed programs.

Carnival Corporation & plc Names Jason Glen Cahilly to Board of Directors
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) today announced that on July 18, 2017, Jason Glen Cahilly, former chief strategic and financial officer of the National Basketball Association, has been appointed to the company's boards of directors, effective immediately. The announcement was made following the quarterly meeting of the company's boards of directors held yesterday in Venice, Italy.

Cahilly, a seasoned executive with more than 20 years of financial experience in the sports, communications, media and entertainment industries, will serve in a non-executive capacity on Carnival Corporation's 11-member boards of directors. He will also serve on the Audit Committees.

"We are very pleased to welcome Jason as an exceptional addition to our boards of directors," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc chairman. "Jason brings extensive leadership experience to Carnival and valuable expertise in a wide variety of areas. We look forward to working with him closely and gaining insights from his unique perspective as we continue growing demand for our 10 global brands."

Most recently Cahilly served as chief strategic and financial officer of the NBA, where he was responsible for setting strategic priorities and direction globally, following 12 years at Goldman, Sachs & Co. where he served as a partner and the global co-head of media and telecommunications, as well as a member of the firm's Internet Investment Committee. Prior to that, Cahilly was a vice president of Lehman Brothers Inc. in New York. He holds a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.

There is no other information required to be disclosed pursuant to LR9.6.13R in respect of Cahilly.

Following yesterday's board meeting, Carnival Corporation & plc also announced that it has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.40 per share. The company's boards of directors approved a record date for the quarterly dividend of August 25, 2017, and a payment date of September 15, 2017.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 67.02 + 1.78%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 111.49 + 2.11%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.30 - 1.29%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.13 + 0.19%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which Holland America ship caught fire and sank off the Alaska coast in October 1980 while on a positioning cruise from Vancouver to the Orient? Her 524 passengers and crew were evacuated safely.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Cunard's Queen Mary 2 includes a feature from one of the great liners of the past. The feature is designed to cover the forward deck gear and give the ship a more graceful look. What is the feature called and what ship provided the inspiration for Queen Mary 2?

Answer - It is called a "Whaleback" and it was introduced by the Normandie.
courtesy of R. Richardson, Miami, FL


Cruise News - July 10, 2017

Majestic Princess Arrives in Shanghai to Begin Inaugural Season in China
Princess Cruises, today announced that Majestic Princess, the first new international luxury cruise liner tailor-made for China, has arrived in Shanghai to begin her maiden season. Yao Ming and Ye Li served as Naming Ambassadors and officially named Majestic Princess during an inaugural ceremony. The ceremony was also attended by Wang Hong, the party secretary of Baoshan District and director general of Shanghai International Cruise Business Institute, Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc and Jan Swartz, group president, Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia, Chinese travel agent partners, national and local media and key opinions leaders.

"The Majestic Princess inaugural celebration was remarkable for Princess Cruises as well as Carnival Corporation, as we continue to strategically reinforce our long-term commitment to the growing cruise industry in China," said Arnold Donald, president & chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation & plc. "We believe all Chinese families will appreciate the value of cruising as a new vacation option and create life-long memories from their experiences aboard Majestic Princess."

"We are honored to serve as the Majestic Princess Naming Ambassadors for Princess Cruises," said Yao Ming. "I'm inspired that Princess Cruises also cares so deeply about youth development in China and appreciate their support of our foundation. We look forward to enjoying a future cruise vacation aboard Majestic Princess."

Majestic Princess promises the ultimate cruise vacation, offering Princess Cruises' renowned warm, welcoming, international service experience. The new cruise ship features two specialty dinner menus designed exclusively for Princess by Michelin star-awarded chefs Emmanuel Renaut (La Mer) and Richard Chen (Harmony); the largest duty-free shops at sea; the most technologically-advanced, immersive musical and cinematic production at sea, "Fantastic Journey," featuring drones and state-of-the-art video mapping; a new youth program, "Camp Discovery" for Chinese children; and the Princess Luxury Bed developed in collaboration with board-certified doctor and sleep expert, Michael Breus, PhD.

"Majestic Princess, our new flagship, is a perfect demonstration of an 'East meets West' international cruise vacation experience," said Jan Swartz. "Representing over 50 years of experience, we are confident Majestic Princess has redefined the luxury cruising experience."

All guests who attended the inaugural celebration experienced the international luxury cruising experience as well as a range of enriching activities. Highlights included:

Elegant Design and Retail Offerings:

Majestic Princess showcases classically-modern designs, infused with fashion, art and history. The ship has the largest Atrium among the Princess Cruises fleet, featuring elegantly detailed design finishes, a range of restaurants, lounges, shops and services, plus events and activities throughout the day and evening. The Shops of Princess features the highest quality products direct from the brands' manufacturers showcased in nearly 1,100 square meters of luxury boutiques, the largest shopping space at sea.

Exceptional Dining:

La Mer by three Michelin-star chef Emmanuel Renaut and Harmony, a specialty restaurant with modern decor, sophisticated Cantonese with a dinner menu designed by Michelin-star chef Richard Chen present guests with options of exceptional French and Chinese dining experiences.

In addition, there are more options, such as the World Fresh Marketplace, with food and flavors from around the world including traditional Chinese comfort foods at a dedicated wok station, to Mediterranean dishes, a pasta specialty counter, colorful farmer's market salads, fruits, and an array of other cold dishes. There are new specialty counters offering "East meets West" street foods, including Japanese yakitori, ramen, and satays, German grilled sausages, and French crepes. In The Bakery, savor Chinese bakery favorites like egg tarts and custard and meat floss buns, as well as classic Western and European pastries and Danishes. Majestic Princess also offers guests Gong Cha, the famous bubble milk tea brand; the authentic American steakhouse experience of Crown Grill familiar across the global fleet; Lobster Grill and Dim Sum Bar as well as Alfredo's featuring Italian cuisine and "The Best Pizza at Sea."

Premier Entertainment:

The world premiere of "Fantastic Journey" presents the most technologically-advanced, immersive musical and cinematic experience at sea produced exclusively for Chinese guests aboard Majestic Princess. The ship also offers "Sing on the Sea" private karaoke, Water Color Fantasy (water fountain and multi-media light show), as well as Movies Under The Stars, the largest LED viewing screen on the Princess fleet which also impressively entertains guests aboard.

In addition, as the Captain can look through glass panels in the floor of the bridge, guests onboard Majestic Princess can now share in that breathtaking view on SeaWalk, a dramatic over-the-ocean glass walkway. The SeaWalk is the first of its kind at sea. At 60 feet long, cantilevered 128 feet above the waves and extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship, it affords thrilling vistas of the ever-changing seascape. Across the ship, the SeaView Bar goes one step further with a glass paneled floor and drinks prepared during exciting shows with flair.

Family Enrichment at Sea:

Debuting for China Camp Discovery is an interactive family enrichment program developed in part by Discovery Communications, California Science Center, and educators from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University – designed to foster creativity and initiate a love for learning that prepares children to better navigate their education and development at early learning ages.

Silk Road Sea Route

Majestic Princess recently finished the "Silk Road Sea Route," a 49-day journey from Rome to Shanghai. During the voyage the ship visited a total of 22 ports including Athens, Dubai, Cochin, Singapore, Port Klang, Xiamen, Hong Kong, and Japan before arriving in Shanghai, her new homeport in China. Majestic Princess will begin her first cruise from China on July 11, 2017, carrying 3,560 guests to a variety of cruise destinations.

In 2018, two 14-day Grand Asia voyage sailings between Shanghai and Singapore, will be available to guests throughout the world on Majestic Princess. These sailings will visit Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand, including spending more time ashore on the late night call in Hong Kong. The first voyage departs Shanghai on February 25, 2018, with the second departing Singapore on March 11, 2018.

Princess Cruises will also call Australia home from September 2018 to March 2019. Majestic Princess will sail itineraries from Sydney and Auckland on voyages from 6 to 13 days in length, and will call in ports at destinations including New Zealand, Tasmania, Fiji and other islands in the South Pacific.

Best Way to Visit Cuba? Go In Style on a Cruise For Worry-Free Travel
Once a forbidden place, Cuba is a jewel in the Caribbean that should be on every traveler's bucket list. And now there's a way to confidently travel to Cuba – by cruise ship.

Two of the most popular and well-known cruise lines recently received approval for sailings to Cuba – Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line, two of the 10 cruise brands that are part of Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company.

Carnival Corporation made history in May 2016 when its Fathom brand became the first cruise line to sail from the U.S. to Cuba in more than 40 years. So the company has had plenty of recent experience in sailing guests to Cuba – and fine-tuning how to provide their guests with a great experience.

And on June 29, history was again made as Carnival Cruise Line's 2,052-passenger Carnival Paradise set sail from Tampa to Havana, becoming the largest U.S. cruise ship ever to sail from the U.S. to Cuba.

Carnival Cruise Line – recently named America's Most Trusted cruise line by Reader's Digest for the third consecutive year – is currently offering four- and five- day cruises starting this summer and fall that will overnight in Havana, giving guests the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the city's rich culture and history, as well as its vibrant nightlife. Five-day sailings also call at Key West or Cozumel.

On December 22, Holland America Line – widely recognized as a leader in the premium segment of the cruise industry – will become Carnival Corporation's third cruise line to sail to Cuba.

Holland America Line's 1,350-passenger ms Veendam will sail on seven-, 11- and 12-day itineraries during the 2017-2018 winter and spring seasons from Fort Lauderdale. The ship's itineraries will visit Havana and some also call at Cienfuegos, known as Cuba's "Pearl of the South," which will include shore excursions to the stunningly preserved colonial city of Trinidad. Depending on the itinerary, passengers will also have opportunity to explore other ports of call in the Caribbean, including the Bahamas and Mexico.

The opening of Cuba gives travelers a new, must-see destination to visit and explore in the Caribbean, the world's most popular cruising region. The Spanish-speaking country is like no other place, filled with legendary history, culture and architecture, with people known for their work ethic, entrepreneurship and vibrant spirit for life.

Only 90 miles from the U.S., Cuba was for generations a place that U.S. travelers could only dream about visiting on a cruise ship. While the country is more accessible than ever by sea, it still feels like another world.

The opportunity to learn more about the Cuban culture directly from the Cuban people only enhances the experience of visiting Cuba. People-to-people exchanges, which meet U.S. guidelines for travel to Cuba, are arranged by the cruise lines on half-day and full-day shore excursions. After a complete day of exploration and immersion, guests can also experience nighttime shore excursions.

"Guests will get the chance to participate in culturally enriching experiences such as visiting historical sites and engaging directly with the Cuban people, which ultimately will expand horizons," said Terry Thornton, Carnival Cruise Line's senior vice president of Port Operations. "Our team has created a variety of great shore excursions that we are excited about and believe will create special memories for our guests."

Global cruise travelers and enrichment seekers are naturally curious about new destinations and places that are not easily visited. Cuba is one of these places, and Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line guests will find opportunities to learn about a country that most have only seen in photos and news reports.

"Many of the tours are designed in order to have our guests interact with small family-run operations to give them an authentic Cuban experience," said Beth Bodensteiner, senior vice president of Revenue Management and Global Deployment for Holland America Line. "We have done all the legwork in creating meaningful experiences that meet all U.S. regulatory requirements. In our view, cruising is the best and most worry-free way to travel to Cuba, even more so going forward."

"The history, culture, amazing sites, art, music and interactions with the Cuban people are unique to this special destination," added Thornton. "A cruise to Cuba will provide lasting memories from being one of the first U.S. guests to visit this fascinating island nation."

Arriving in Havana - Do not miss the sail-in through the narrow channel into Old Havana, with the beautiful, historically significant Morro Castle watching over your cruise ship as it sails into the harbor. Among the city's stately buildings, keep an eye out for the Hotel Nacional, a landmark on the waterfront since 1930.

Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a jaw-dropping place to explore, a history-rich capital city with cobblestone streets, examples of baroque and neoclassical architecture, broad plazas and the impressive Maleco´n seawall on the Straits of Florida.

Your ship will dock right in Old Havana, an easy walk to museums and other historical landmarks, such as La Bodeguita del Medio, where a scribble on the wall is attributed to Ernest Hemingway.

It's hard to believe this time capsule of a city is a metropolis that is home to two million people. It feels like a living breathing slice of history.

Cienfuegos and Trinidad - On Holland America Line cruises, guests will have the additional opportunity to see the sophisticated neoclassical buildings of Cienfuegos, a port city carefully planned out by French settlers in the 19th century. Book an excursion to Trinidad and you will drive about 60 miles through the countryside to a beautifully preserved Spanish colonial city of cobblestone streets, palaces and plazas, founded in 1514 by the conquistador Diego Vela´zquez and located on a hilltop overlooking the Caribbean. Both Cienfuegos and Trinidad were significant trading capitals that like Old Havana are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

HMS Queen Elizabeth meets RMS Queen Elizabeth
Cunard's Queen Elizabeth met HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time on Thursday, Jul. 6, 2017 off the coast of Scotland.

The rendezvous of the two ships, that share the same name and who were both christened by The Queen, took place in the Moray Firth off the coast of Scotland during Queen Elizabeth's 13-night tour of the British Isles. "It is a huge honour for myself and the crew of Cunard's Queen Elizabeth to meet HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time,” said Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge of Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth.

“To share the sea with the Royal Navy's lead ship of the Queen Elizabeth-class of aircraft carrier and the largest warship ever built for the UK is a pleasure and I would like to take this opportunity to wish Commander Kyd and his crew well with their sea trials."

Norwegian Cruise Line Enhances Summer 2018 Deployment In Alaska And The Caribbean
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced updates to the their summer 2018 deployment, featuring exciting new opportunities for guests to set sail to their dream destinations, while unpacking just once and enjoying the most free and flexible cruising experience at sea. New for 2018, Norwegian Sun will reposition to Port Canaveral and offer all-inclusive four day cruises to Havana, Cuba and Key West, and three-day cruises to the Bahamas. Norwegian Jewel will rejoin the youngest fleet sailing to Alaska in summer 2018, with a multitude of exciting itineraries including seven- and nine-day sailings from Seattle, Seward and Vancouver.

“Alaska continues to be one of the most popular destinations we sail to around the world. We are thrilled to be significantly increasing capacity in the region in summer 2018 with the redeployment of Norwegian Jewel and the inaugural season for Norwegian Bliss, providing more opportunities for our guests to experience a vacation of a lifetime in this incredible pristine destination,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “Our all-inclusive model aboard Norwegian Sky has been very well-received and as we evaluated the opportunity to expand upon that concept, we felt that Port Canaveral was the ideal location to offer our guests a value-rich on board experience and exciting action-packed ports-of-call, including an overnight call in Havana, Cuba.”

Following her fall/winter season in South America and a dry dock enhancement, Norwegian Sun will spend her summer 2018 season sailing all-inclusive cruises from Port Canaveral, offering four-day itineraries that call on Key West and Havana, Cuba, along with three-day cruises to the Bahamas. Norwegian Sun accommodates 1,936 guests, providing freedom, flexibility and superior guest service with 16 dining options, 12 bars and lounges, entertainment options for all ages and more. All guests sailing aboard one of Norwegian Sun’s Cuba or Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral will also enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages included in their cruise fare as a part of the ship’s all-inclusive program. Norwegian Sun’s new itineraries include the following:

• Norwegian Sun will undergo a two-and-a-half week dry dock in Victoria, British Columbia as a part of the Norwegian Edge™, the brand’s revitalization program encompassing the entire guest experience, and re-enter service on April 19, 2018 where she will begin her journey to the east coast with a 17-day Panama Canal cruise departing from Seattle.

• Norwegian Sun’s four-day cruises to Cuba will depart Port Canaveral each Monday, beginning May 7, 2018, and feature a call on Key West, Florida and an overnight stay in Havana, returning to Port Canaveral each Friday. Norwegian Sun will transport guests to the heart of the action in both Key West and Havana, calling in Key West’s Old Town district and Havana Harbor, located in the heart of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Norwegian Sun will offer guests the opportunity to experience the wonderful culture and incredible history of Cuba, along with the warmth and friendliness of the Cuban people during OFAC-compliant* shore excursions.

• Norwegian Sun’s three-day cruises to the Bahamas will feature calls in Nassau** and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s popular private island beach paradise that was recently enhanced with new food and beverage outlets, expanded Cabanas for daily rental and a new underwater snorkeling garden.

Following her winter 2017/2018 season sailing in Australia and Asia, Norwegian Jewel will journey from Tokyo (Yokohama) to Seattle and will replace Norwegian Sun as Norwegian’s third ship sailing in Alaska in summer 2018. As the namesake of Norwegian’s "Jewel Class" ships, the 2376-passenger Norwegian Jewel is a guest favorite and thrills with a myriad of dining and entertainment offerings. Featuring 16 dining options including Norwegian’s signature specialty restaurants Cagney’s, La Cucina and Le Bistro; along with 15 bars and nightclubs, Norwegian Jewel is a perfect ship to explore the stunning beauty of Alaska. Her wide variety of accommodations includes some of the largest suites at sea in The Haven by Norwegian, the ship’s exclusive suite complex. The famous three-bedroom Garden Villa boasts nearly 5000 square feet of luxury and is located at the top of the ship, with an expansive 2314 square foot balcony that comes complete with a hot tub and private sundeck. The ship’s onboard activities and entertainment include shows Le Cirque Bijou and Band on the Run, a sports deck for basketball, volleyball, tennis and much more. Norwegian Jewel’s new summer 2018 itineraries include the following itineraries:

• Beginning May 26, 2018, Norwegian Jewel will reposition from Seattle to Vancouver with a nine-day Alaska cruise. This scenic itinerary will visit the region’s best destinations, with calls in Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Ketchikan.

• Norwegian Jewel will sail a seven-day roundtrip cruise from Vancouver to Alaska departing on June 4, 2018 with calls on Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.

• Beginning June 11, 2018 from Vancouver, Norwegian will offer guests the freedom and flexibility to enjoy alternating embarkation ports in Vancouver and Seward. From Vancouver, Norwegian Jewel will sail seven-day Glacier Bay cruises calling on Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and disembarking in Seward. From Seward, Norwegian Jewel will feature seven-day Inside Passage Alaska cruises calling on Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and disembarking in Vancouver. Both itineraries will include a sail past the breathtaking Hubbard Glacier.

Honduran Shores Attract New Cruise Lines
Honduras has reported a sharp increase in the number of cruise passengers and cruise ships in 2016 compared with the previous year, reflecting a growing interest in the Central American country as the next top tourist destination.

New vessels calling at Honduran ports this season included Azamara Cruises' Azamara Quest, with a visitor capacity of 690 people, Swan Hellenic Cruises' Minerva welcoming 350 tourists per ship, and Tui Cruises' Mein Schiff 4, with a total capacity of more than 2500 passengers.

With the recent addition of these three lines, 18 different cruise ship companies now stop in Honduran ports of call, including: Carnival Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises, Holland American Line, Thomson Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Tui Cruises, MSC Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, P&O Cruises, Silver Sea, Noble Caledonia, Swan Hellenic Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Sea Cloud Cruises.

Per official port statistics, 1,052,738 cruise passengers docked in Honduras in 2016, a 14.7 percent increase over the previous year's figure of 917,938. Approximately 85 percent of these passengers disembarked on Honduran shores to enjoy some of the country's natural beauty. Per the Honduran Institute of Tourism (IHT) a 3 percent increase in cruises is expected during 2017.

In total, 341 cruise ships called at Honduran ports during 2016, 6.6 percent more than the 320 ships that docked in the country in 2015. The largest of these cruise ships carried 6,882 passengers. Per-passenger average cruise spend reached US$80 in 2016.

This growth prompted the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) to hold its annual Central America Cruise Summit in Honduras in early May of this year.

Cruise passengers wishing to visit Honduras can now choose departure locations from Miami, Tampa, Port Everglades (near Fort Lauderdale), New Orleans and Galveston (near Houston).

ROATÁN - Most cruise passengers visiting Honduras disembark on the Caribbean island of Roatán, some 30 miles north of the mainland. In 2016, Roatán welcomed 1,037,647 cruise passengers, approximately 80 percent of them Americans who were surprised to learn that Roatán is English-dominant, owing to its British colonial legacy.

Roatán is known internationally for its white sand beaches, pristine bays and proximity to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest coral reef in the world. West Bay Beach in Roatán received the 2017 Traveler's Choice Trip Advisor award for the best beach in Central America and one of the 25 best beaches in the world. Frommer's recently highlighted Roatán in its Undiscovered Caribbean Islands: Insiders' Guide; the HGTV show House Hunters International has featured Roatán in a handful of recent episodes, and Islands Magazine listed Roatán as one of the Best Islands to Retire. Visitors flock to Roatán to snorkel, scuba dive and swim among exotic marine creatures such as whale sharks, mantas, wild dolphins, sea turtles and schools of fish, while they can also enjoy water activities such as kayaking, water skiing, sailing and wakeboarding.

Since the remodeling of Roatán's main port (Coxen Hole) in 2008, and building Port Mahogany Bay (Dixon Cove) in 2010, more cruise lines servicing the Western Caribbean have incorporated Honduras into their itineraries. The Port of Roatán can accommodate one ship at a time and has three spaces in the anchorage area, while Port Mahogany Bay can serve up to two ships at a time.

While vacationing on this paradisiacal island, visitors interested in native flora and fauna can explore the Carambola Botanical Gardens at Sandy Bay, the Gumbalimba Conservation Park or the quiet islands near Maya Key and Little French Key.

The below cruise lines are just some of the 18 lines that service Roatán:

• The 3,080-passenger Crown Princess, one of Princess Cruises' largest ships;

• Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Breeze, Conquest , Dream, Fantasy, Freedom, Glory, Magic, Miracle, Paradise, Sunshine, Splendor and Vista;

• Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway, Dawn, Epic, Escape, Gem, Getaway, Jade and Pearl ;

• Royal Caribbean Cruises' Liberty of the Seas from Galveston, Vision of the Seas from the Port of New Orleans, Rhapsody of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas from Tampa, Serenade of the Seas from Port Everglades and Allure of the Seas from Miami and others, for a total of 18 itineraries;

• Regent Seven Sea Cruises' Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Explorer, and Seven Seas Voyager; and

• Costa Cruises' Costa Deliziosa, departing from Port Everglades.

TRUJILLO - In 2014, Trujillo, situated on Honduras' northern (Caribbean) coast, became the first continental port in the country to receive cruise passengers. The development of the port was made possible by a US$30 million investment by Canadian concessionaire Banana Coast to dredge the port and spearhead local beautification projects.

In 2016, five ships visited the port, including RCCL Azamara Quest followed by P&O Cruises' Adonia, Holland American Line's MS Veendam, Oceania Cruises' Riviera and Thomson Cruises' Thomson Dream.

Shore excursions include tobogganing, tram rides through Trujillo's colonial center and nearby nature reserves, kayaking in the Guaimoreto Lagoon and ATV tours. Passengers can also explore the culture of the Garífunas, descendants of African slaves who arrived in the region between the 17th and 18th centuries. PUERTO CORTÉS - Puerto Cortés, located in a natural bay on Honduras' Caribbean coast north of San Pedro Sula, is not only the largest seaport in Central America and the 36th largest in the world in terms of traffic volume, but also an important cruise port, welcoming local cruise ships such as El Europa 2 and El Viajero de los Mares, collectively carrying 1,634 cruise passengers, in 2016. As part of their tour of Puerto Cortés, many cruise passengers head to San Fernando Fortress, one of the few surviving colonial fortresses in the Americas, located in the nearby city of Omoa.

THE PACIFIC COAST - Cruise passengers looking for new ports to explore will be delighted to know that the Pacific coast of Honduras will soon be able to welcome them. In 2018, Honduras hopes to open the Amapala cruise port on Isla del Tigre (Tiger Island), just off its Pacific Coast. Amapala's naturally deep channel will easily allow ships to dock, without requiring further dredging.

Cruises are an excellent first introduction to Honduras, and many day visitors are returning as tourists to explore the country's other attractions such as the ancient Mayan city of Copán and Pico Bonito/PANACAM National Parks. From 2015 to 2016, Honduras' international tourism numbers increased 4 percent and international tourism revenues grew 6.8 percent.

DNCE To Star In Total Eclipse Concert On Royal Caribbean's Oasis Of The Seas
The stars have aligned with the return of multi-platinum selling band DNCE aboard Royal Caribbean International for a live musical performance to celebrate the Great American Eclipse, a phenomenon 99 years in the making. On Aug. 21, DNCE will headline Royal Caribbean's bucket-list-worthy solar eclipse viewing party with a surprise guest for an out-of-this-world performance aboard the exclusive 7-night Total Eclipse Cruise on board Oasis of the Seas, one of the world's largest and most adventure-packed cruise ships.

Adventure-seekers will have the vantage point of the century when Oasis of the Seas positions itself along the eclipse's path of totality where the moon completely masks the sun for a few minutes of total darkness. Building up to the unprecedented moment at sea, DNCE frontman Joe Jonas and all-star bandmates, including bassist and keyboardist Cole Whittle, guitarist JinJoo and drummer Jack Lawless, will perform the band's heart-pumping hits like "Kissing Strangers," "Body Moves" and, of course, "Cake by the Ocean." Guests booked on the Total Eclipse Cruise can visit Royal Caribbean's website and reserve their complimentary seats for the concert by logging on to their reservation.

"When we were invited to headline this once-in-a-lifetime event, we didn't think twice. What could be more out of this world than witnessing a full solar eclipse at sea?" said Joe Jonas. "We're stoked about coming back on board with Royal Caribbean to put on a lights-out performance with a very special guest. It's beyond exciting to be able to celebrate this crazy moment in history out in the middle of the ocean."

The viewing party will last far into the night, long after the moon eclipses the sun, creating social media-worthy moments for what is predicted to be one of the most trending topics of 2017.

In addition to the viewing party, guests on Oasis of the Seas will be treated to other eclipse-themed activities, including dance parties, trivia, interactive science fun for kids and their families, and tasty cocktails and dishes.

Travelers sailing on board Oasis of the Seas will also enjoy the ship's bold and unexpected lineup of experiences and amenities. From two FlowRider surf simulators and a zip line nine decks high – speeding riders 82 feet across an open-air atrium, to unparalleled entertainment, including Broadway-style shows and high-diving, acrobatic performances in the iconic AquaTheater; and world-class dining at 150 Central Park by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, there is an adventure for travelers of all ages aboard Oasis.

The 7-night Total Eclipse Cruise on board Oasis of the Seas will set sail on Aug. 20, 2017 from Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida, and visit Caribbean destinations in the Eastern Caribbean, including Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Nassau, The Bahamas. Adventurers can book now to witness this historic event at sea by visiting RoyalCaribbean.com/TotalEclipse, calling (800) ROYAL- CARIBBEAN or contacting their travel agent.

Royal Caribbean's seven other ships sailing to the Caribbean during the total solar eclipse will provide guests with extraordinary partial views of the phenomenon and special celebrations featuring the cruise line's onboard entertainment offerings. The seven ships are Allure of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Empress of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.85 + 0.92%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 109.19 + 0.32%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.33 + 1.30%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.03 - 0.95%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Cunard's Queen Mary 2 includes a feature from one of the great liners of the past. The feature is designed to cover the forward deck gear and give the ship a more graceful look. What is the feature called and what ship provided the inspiration for Queen Mary 2?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which former cruise ship began life as the container cargo ship Axel Johnson in 1969?

Answer - The former Axel Johnson of the Johnson Line was rebuilt as Costa Marina of Costa Cruises. She was rebuilt in 1989 with a large subsidy from the Italian government. An earlier attempt at a cruise ship conversion by Regency Cruises was stillborn.
courtesy of R. Scafidi


Cruise News - July 3, 2017

Carnival Paradise Arrives In Havana to Inaugurate Carnival Cruise Line’s First-Ever Voyage to Cuba
Carnival Paradise arrived in Havana, Cuba this week, marking Carnival Cruise Line’s first-ever cruise to the picturesque island destination.

The 2,052-passenger vessel – the largest cruise ship ever to call at Havana – departed Port Tampa Bay yesterday on the line’s inaugural voyage to Havana, the first of 12 four- and five-day sailings to the centuries-old Cuban capital.

Carnival Paradise guests will be able to choose from a range of exciting shore excursion experiences that showcase Cuba's vibrant culture and majestic beauty, along with the island's warm and friendly people and centuries-old architectural landmarks.

"Cuba is an island jewel unique from anywhere else in the Caribbean and we are thrilled to have this rare opportunity to take our guests to this fascinating destination," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "The opportunity to visit Havana, combined with the fun, relaxed ambiance and wide variety of amenities and features offered on Carnival Paradise, will make for a truly one-of-a-kind vacation experience," she added.

Aboard Carnival Paradise, guests can enjoy an array of amenities and a full schedule of daytime activities and nighttime entertainment. A variety of dining options include two full-service main dining rooms and expansive poolside choices. The ship also features a 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival health and wellness facility and an exclusive Serenity adults-only retreat. Popular family-friendly programming includes Seuss at Sea in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and featuring the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends and fun, supervised activities for kids in three age groups. Four swimming pools and a 115-foot-long water slide are additional features.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control. All cruises feature a daytime and overnight call in Havana to provide vacationers a rare and exciting opportunity to explore this fascinating destination. Additional cruises in the series depart July 13, Aug. 14, 24 and 28, Sept. 7, 21 and 25, Oct. 5, 9 and 19, 2017, as well as May 3, 2018. Four-day cruises feature Havana while five-day voyages add a stop in Cozumel or Key West.

Oceania Cruises Recognizes "Youngest World Cruisers" As 4- And 6-year Olds Complete 180-Day Around The World Voyage
Oceania Cruises recognized the "Youngest World Cruisers," 4-year-old Lorenna D'Amore Nogueira and 6-year-old Henrique D'Amore Nogeuira, yesterday in New York aboard the 684-guest m/s Insignia.

Sailing with 30-year-old mom Drielle D'Amore Nogueira and 32-year-old dad Diego Castilho Nogueira, the sister and brother are about to complete Oceania's 180-day Around the World voyage, which departed Miami on January 6, 2017, calling in 36 countries on six continents. The ship returns to Miami on July 6, where the family will disembark for the last time and return to their home in Brazil.

Together, the Nogueira family is dispelling the myth that long sailings are solely for retirees and mature guests. As a teacher, Drielle says that the education from such an extended adventure is an incredible way to learn about world history, culture and people. And, for her, "The greatest achievement undoubtedly is English language skills." In regards to how her children are finding life on the ship, she said, "They have adapted to it all very easily and willingly and are interested in new stories. This [experience] will definitely make a difference when studying, learning and understanding matters in school. How much they have learned on this trip will be uncovered in the future, when some subject will remind us all of what we saw and lived during this time."

Diego added, "It's fantastic how children are sponges absorbing everything around them…The diversity encountered (on this cruise) will certainly help them grow with less prejudices because they met so many people from different cultures."

And what did the children like best about their journey? Henrique said, "I like the onboard games you can play with adults and my dad and my mom, and I love (the daily) teatime! I like to visit the different countries, but sometimes I wanted to stay longer and we don't have time. But it's cool; I already know the places that I want to go back to! Every time that we leave (for extended excursions) I really like returning to the ship and hearing the crew say, 'Welcome Back!' I love my house on the ship! I have a high bed that opens and closes and that's awesome!"

Lorenna, who turned 4 while on the voyage, said, "I like to go off the ship and see the cities. I love the chef when he makes brigadeiro (a Brazilian pastry) for me like for my birthday! I loved my party birthday on the ship."

How did mom and dad keep their kids entertained for 180-days? Diego said, "We adults have the idea that kids love to have toys, the more elaborate the better, but this journey also made us (parents) realize that actually children just want attention. Without any specific activity, if we give attention telling a story, painting with them, involving them around the environment, in the end they are just happy with that."

Drielle added that their stateroom has been a place for play, family time and art. "We have the children's drawings on the walls of the places that we have been; they show how much they are learning with the whole experience. We love this experience and think it should be mandatory for every human being, as personal growth."

Viking Cruises Unveils New Winter Northern Lights Itinerary
Viking Cruises today announced a new ocean cruise itinerary that will allow guests the rare opportunity to explore the far north in Norway's winter, during a peak period for aurora borealis sightings. Sailing between London and Bergen starting in January 2019, In Search of the Northern Lights will establish Viking as the first U.S. cruise line to offer a full-length itinerary in the Arctic Circle in the winter season.

"Our Nordic heritage is evident in all that we do, from our spirit of exploration to the serene, understated elegance of our ships. Scandinavia is Viking territory, and no other cruise line can show guests this part of the world like we can," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "Norway's landscapes in the winter are truly magnificent, something few North Americans get to witness. I am pleased to offer this exclusive opportunity for our guests to explore my homeland."

Sailing on Viking's third 930-guest ocean ship, Viking Sky, guests will experience Norway's pristine beauty and dramatic snow-dusted wilderness, with a chance each day to stargaze and scan the dark skies for the northern lights. On the 13-day itinerary, guests will be able to immerse themselves in the rich culture of northern Europe, visiting seven destinations – with overnights in Tromsø, Alta and Bergen, Norway, and a complimentary excursion in each port. Highlights of the new In Search of the Northern Lights itinerary include:

• Experience the Northern Lights in Alta: Home to some of northern Europe's most magnificent natural beauty, Alta's frequent clear skies make it an ideal place to view the luminous aurora borealis during the height of the viewing season.

• Experience Nordic Life with the Sami Community of Máze: While in Alta, visit the nearby native Sami community of Máze for an authentic lunch of local dishes and an exciting ride in a reindeer-drawn sleigh.

• Visit the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø: Home to the largest concentration of wooden houses in northern Norway dating back to 1904, marvel at the classic architecture contrasted with modern buildings, including the Arctic Cathedral, a stunning triangular building in white and icy blue often called the "Opera House of Norway" for its resemblance to the Sydney Opera House.

• Step into the Viking Age in Stavanger: Visit the Archaeological Museum, where a host in traditional Viking dress will demonstrate essential tools and artifacts of the time period, then stop at the Swords in Stone monument commemorating the Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872.

• Ascent of Mt. Ulriken in Bergen: A panoramic tour of Bergen takes you to the beautifully preserved wharf of Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was central to Bergen's role in the Hanseatic League. Afterwards, embark on a gondola ride for a scenic ascent to Mt. Ulriken, the highest of Bergen's famous Seven Mountains.

Crystal River Cruises Unveils Culinary Concepts For Crystal Bach
Crystal River Cruises has unveiled detailed highlights of the culinary concepts and offerings to be featured aboard Crystal Bach, the first of the company's "Rhine Class" river yachts, debuting in August. Sailing routes along the Rhine, Danube and Main Rivers, the all-balcony, all-suite vessel will offer sophisticated menus of cuisine inspired by the region, artfully crafted by a team of expert European chefs. And while the specialties themselves will be creatively designed specifically for Crystal Bach's stunning itineraries, the philosophy of culinary excellence remains rooted in Crystal's commitment to using the freshest ingredients sourced from local suppliers and serving dishes that authentically represent the destinations visited.

"As the first 'Rhine Class' river yacht, Crystal Bach will introduce a new standard of luxury in river cruising on many fronts, including the culinary concept and innovative experiences found on board," says Edie Rodriguez, CEO and president of Crystal. "While we are always pursuing new and distinctive experiences on each of our luxury vessels, our overall dedication to unsurpassed quality and abundant choices remains constant."

Guests will dine on fresh fish and seafood from Holland, seasonal fruits and vegetables from Germany and the Netherlands, meat and poultry from farmers in Bavaria and the Austrian Alps, along with wine, beer and cheese specific to the region. Uniquely European delicacies will also be featured on the expansive menus, including sturgeon caviar from Eindhoven and river crawfish from the Rhine. Additionally, as aboard Crystal's first luxury river ship, Crystal Mozart, coffees and teas by Julius Meinl, a prestigious Vienna-based company who has crafted the beverages since 1862, will be served on Crystal Bach.

Crystal chefs will create dishes that have been favored by local people and nobility for centuries, as well as some options that boast a modern twist on the classics. From the elegant Waterside Restaurant – the main dining room aboard Crystal River vessels – to the relaxed Bistro Café and exclusive Vintage Room, guests will find farm-to-table, Michelin-inspired cuisine that complements the cultural discoveries of their journey.

Dutch herring on dill mousse and German green split pea soup with smoked duck join other European delicacies like Dornfelder braised oxtail ragout and Boeuf Bourguignonne. Mouthwatering dishes such as truffle spring chicken cassoulet "En Croute," broiled dover sole "Meuniere" and cold-water lobster served with a creamy leek risotto are also among the culinary palate pleasers.

A brand new dedicated selection of vegetarian dishes will also be offered aboard Crystal Bach, which will offer the same fresh and authentic approach as the overall menu.

"The culinary experience aboard all Crystal vessels is meant to inspire travelers to discover more about the world they explore, as food and the camaraderie of dining is such an integral part of the travel experience," says Toni Neumeister, senior vice president of hotel operations. "Guests aboard Crystal Bach will not only enjoy extraordinary new and classic flavors, but also a taste of the history and culture of this beautiful region."

In addition to the cuisine served on board the luxury river yacht, guests can indulge in exclusive dining experiences at Michelin star-awarded restaurants in select destinations. Each 2017 itinerary will feature at least one opportunity to indulge in signature fare of renowned eateries ashore, the first of which will be complementary.

The vessels will be the river cruising industry's first all-balcony, all-suite designs boasting every category of accommodation perched above the waterline. Every suite will offer Crystal's acclaimed butler service in every room category, plush king-sized beds that face toward the Panoramic Balcony-Windows™, walk-in closets and dual vanity in the bathrooms in most categories, ETRO robes and slippers, wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs, and Nespresso machines.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.25 - 1.61%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 108.84 - 2.73%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.30 - 6.12%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.55 + 1.72%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cruise ship began life as the container cargo ship Axel Johnson in 1969?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
When Cunard's Queen Mary departed New York for Europe in July of 1943 she carried a record number of passengers and crew - the most of any passenger vessel in war or peace. How many people did she carry on that historic voyage? (note: the closest answer wins this week's contest)

Answer - The Queen Mary set a record on July 25th 1943 sailing from New York to Gourock with 15.740 passengers and a crew of 943 totalling 16.683
courtesy of liberte50 (at) wtal.de


Cruise News - June 26, 2017

Ritz-Carlton Takes To The Sea
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., part of Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR), today announced its entry into luxury yachting and cruises – bringing the award-winning luxury hotel brand's service and timeless style to sea. Created by The Ritz-Carlton and maritime experts Douglas Prothero and Lars Clasen, in collaboration with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., The Ritz-Carlton will provide luxury hospitality service under a long-term operating agreement. Named The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, this venture represents a unique foray into the cruise industry for a luxury hotel operator. The first of three lavish cruising yachts in this series is scheduled to take to sea in the fourth quarter of 2019, and distinguishes Marriott International as the only provider of luxury accommodations both on land and at sea.

"The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will have a distinctive personality and the vessels are sure to be true stand outs in some of the most glamorous ports around the world," said Herve Humler, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. "This unique combination of yachting and cruising will usher in a new way of luxury travel for guests seeking to discover the world in a relaxed, casually elegant and comfortable atmosphere with the highest level of personalized service."

Itineraries are being developed with an intent to combine the lifestyle of The Ritz-Carlton's luxury resorts and the casual freedom of a yachting vacation. Calling at intimate and signature destinations alike, voyages will range from seven to ten days. The first ship will cruise a wide variety of destinations depending on the season, including the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. Due to the intimate size of the vessel, the yacht will call at unique locations typically not accessible to large cruise ships, from Capri and Portofino to St. Barths and the old town of Cartagena. With a relaxed pace, that includes both overnight and daytime ports of call, guests will be offered a uniquely curated destination experience.

The specially designed small capacity vessel will measure 190-meters, accommodate up to 298 passengers, and feature 149 suites, each with its own private balcony. The yacht will also feature two 138 square-meter lavish duplex penthouse suites, with modern craftsmanship and interior finishes jointly designed by The Ritz-Carlton and leading cruise ship design firm, Tillberg Design of Sweden. The onboard experience will reflect the sublime comfort and unparalleled level of individualized guest service for which the iconic Ritz-Carlton brand is recognized; a first in the cruise industry.

"The Ritz-Carlton is known for its legendary service and high standards," said Douglas Prothero Managing Director, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. "We are delighted to collaborate with The Ritz-Carlton as our hospitality operator in offering the most exclusive yachting experience to be found at sea in a venture that will give new meaning to curated luxury travel," continued Lars Clasen, Managing Director, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.

Throughout the journey, guests will indulge in a cruising style that is unparalleled in the ultra-luxury cruise and private yachting sectors. The Ritz-Carlton yachts will feature a restaurant by Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg; a signature Ritz-Carlton Spa; and a Panorama Lounge and wine bar, offering a wide variety of on-board entertainment. Additionally, the yacht will offer one-of-a-kind curated destination journeys through collaborations with local chefs, musicians and artists, allowing guests to experience the locations in unique and experiential ways, both onboard and ashore.

Reservations will open in May 2018. The ships of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection are also available for private charter.

Viking Celebrates Christening Of Third Ocean Ship
Viking Cruises officially christened its third ocean ship, Viking Sky, during a public celebration in Tromsø, Norway – a key port of call on Viking's popular Into the Midnight Sun itinerary. After arriving in Tromsø, Viking Sky was positioned in the harbor adjacent to a concert stage constructed specifically for the celebration. Viking guests and residents of Tromsø were treated to a public concert, with performances from a variety of esteemed Norwegian musicians.

Classified as a "small ship," the all-veranda, Viking Sky, like her sister ships, has a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, boasts 465 cabins and accommodates 930 passengers. Viking's fourth ship, Viking Sun, will be delivered in November and will spend her maiden season sailing the company's first-ever World Cruise. Viking Spirit will join the fleet in 2018 and will sail itineraries in Australia, Asia and Alaska. A sixth, yet-to-be-named ship will be delivered in 2019; the arrival will mark Viking as the largest small ship ocean cruise line. The ocean ships are designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, including the same interior design team responsible for the award-winning fleet of Viking Longships.

Designed for discerning travelers, Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" as an alternative to mainstream cruises. The Viking Difference is providing guests with extraordinarily well-designed cruises that bring them closer to the cultures of the world. Ships are small to get guests closer to their destination, with more time in port, more overnights and fewer days at sea. Onboard, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light. All-veranda ships mean that guests experience every day with a new, expansive vista. With the most al fresco dining at sea, featuring regional cuisines and always-available American classics, Viking's guests can truly dine in their destination. A focus on cultural enrichment brings immersive experiences onshore and onboard. And only The Viking Way brings guests itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.

Norwegian Joy Christened
Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Cruise Line's first custom-designed ship for the Chinese cruise market, was christened today in a lavish ceremony held onboard the vessel in Shanghai that featured an over-the-top performance by the ship's Godfather, Chinese-American singer songwriter, music producer, actor and film director, Wang Leehom.

At 167,725–gross-tons and accommodating 3,883 guests, Norwegian Joy features an innovative design, world-class finishes and amenities tailored to provide a "First Class at Sea" experience for Chinese guests, along with Norwegian's signature cruising style that offers guests the freedom and flexibility to design their perfect vacation experience.

"After years spent carefully designing this amazing vessel, my team and I are both proud and thrilled to finally christen the Norwegian's first cruise ship custom-designed for the wonderful people of China," said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. "This is truly a special moment for the entire Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings family, our valued travel partners, honored guests and dedicated officers and crew across our fleet."

In homage to Norwegian Joy's eye-catching hull art, designed by famed Chinese artist Tan Ping and featuring a majestic phoenix, the christening ceremony began with a performance by renowned dancer and choreographer Yabin Wang, with her interpretation of the spirit of the phoenix through dance. Tan Ping, who also made a special guest appearance at the ceremony, selected the phoenix as the focal point for the ship's hull artwork, as the iconic bird represents beauty and good luck in Chinese culture.

The pinnacle moment of the christening ceremony came as Wang Leehom and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings executives simultaneously smashed bottles of champagne against the side of a replica ship hull, which released an oversized bottle of Veuve Cliquot that shattered against the ship's actual hull, signifying the maritime tradition of bringing good luck to all who sail on her.

Wang Leehom, who serves as Godfather and brand ambassador for Norwegian Joy, ended the ceremony with an electrifying performance that wowed the crowd of VIP Chinese and Western guests.

"I'm honored to officially welcome this incredible ship to China and share the cruising lifestyle with Chinese guests as the Godfather for Norwegian Joy," said Wang Leehom.

Norwegian Joy's christening marks the end of a month-long grand inaugural tour where she has been showcased through events at the ports of Singapore, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy's homeports of Shanghai and Tianjin.

Celebrity Cruises Unveils Reimagined Garden of Eden Dining Venue
Today, Celebrity Cruises reveals the next exciting feature on its newest ship, Celebrity Edge, which debuts next year. Eden, is a unique venue where state of the art design is fused into every element, including cuisine served by “Edenists.” Spanning three decks at the aft of the ship with almost 7,000 sq. ft. of glass, Eden has more outward-facing glass than any other room at sea. It is a design and architectural feat, brought to life in collaboration with internationally-renowned visionaries.

Eden exemplifies the innovative outward-facing design of the new Edge Class ships. The first of these game-changing vessels, Celebrity Edge, launching in December 2018, reimagines what it means to be connected to the sea and transforms how guests experience each destination. The scale of Eden, measuring 368,640 cubic ft., is bigger than the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, and Eden's area, at 12,650 sq. ft., is larger than the Van Gogh Museum atrium in Amsterdam.

Three innovators partnered with Celebrity to help create this dramatic, multi-story venue, including veteran Scott Butler of Wilson Butler Architects and internationally renowned designer Patricia Urquiola – who has never designed a venue at sea before. Celebrity also engaged Queen of the Night creators Variety Worldwide, who have been blending unconventional theater with dining and nightlife for years. The result is an individualized, ever-evolving theatrical journey that puts guests at the epicenter of the performance.

“Eden, like so many aspects of Celebrity Edge, represents a unique advance in cruise ship design,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “It’s an experience that’s multi-faceted and innovative. Connectivity to the ocean is one of the most exciting hallmarks of Edge Class, and with more glass than any other room at sea, Eden embodies that outward-facing concept beautifully.”

“Our search for partners who are as passionate about world-class design as Celebrity led us to the incredibly talented Scott Butler and designer extraordinaire Patricia Urquiola, who offered a fresh perspective and keen eye,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “The entire space is magical throughout morning, afternoon, and evening when our guests will experience Eve at Eden, an experience produced by the visionary Variety Worldwide and our very own Cornelius Gallagher. They have all created something magical and magnificent.”

By morning, Eden is a chillful escape where yoga, a good book, or coffee and a croissant can be enjoyed with expansive views of the world. In the afternoon, Eden becomes more playful, with hands-on enrichment seminars and tastings to strengthen guests’ culinary prowess, cocktail-making skills and wine knowledge. The afternoon also features performances from sitar players to aerialists. As the sun sets on Eden, the evening ushers in Eve at Eden, a sinful fusion of performance art, culinary exploration and nightlife – like nothing else at sea – that promises to indulge guests’ every sense in the Eden Restaurant. Here, Edenists will serve a choreographed series of experiential culinary temptations sure to surprise and delight.

As dinner comes to an end, guests will be prompted by sensory cues to tempt them back upstairs, past the Tree of Life – the continuation of tradition and evolution of the iconic living tree installation onboard Celebrity’s heralded Solstice Class ships – to Deck 5. Here, the Library of Plants towers 18-feet above Eden Bar, offering its bounty of fresh ingredients and garnishes for hand-crafted, artisanal cocktails.

“When people think of traditional cruise ship entertainment, there’s a very specific image that people have in mind, but the exciting thing about Eden is we’ve actually been invited to break so many of those rules,” said David Ley, Director, Variety Worldwide.

Eden’s breathtaking design by Scott Butler was inspired by the golden spiral as generated by the Fibonacci sequence. Represented in nature through the bloom of a rose or the curl of a snail’s shell, the golden spiral is brought to life through the thoughtfully crafted architecture of the venue. Eden has a 90-meter ramp enveloping the space enabling guests to meander through the space on a serpentine journey of discovery.

“When creating Eden, my goal was to create a connection to the sea in a space that will stir imaginations and leave lasting memories of the travel experience,” said Scott Butler, AIA, Founding Partner, Wilson Butler Architects.

Patricia Urquiola designed some of the key features of Eden, including the towering Library of Plants and the impressive hanging plant pillars. Her signature furniture is also used throughout the space.

“In working on Eden with Celebrity, I wanted to design a dynamic environment that changes from morning to night, so guests experience something new every time they visit,” Patricia Urquiola, Designer, Architect, Founder of Studio Urquiola. Celebrity Edge will homeport in Fort Lauderdale, FL., making her first sailing December 16, 2018.

Queen Mary 2 'Racing' Across the Atlantic Against Four Trimarans
On Sunday, June 25, 2017, Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 set sail from Saint Nazaire, France, to cross the Atlantic in a once-in-a-lifetime Transatlantic "Race" against four of the world's most famous trimarans in 'The Bridge 2017.'

'The Bridge 2017' is a series of events commemorating the centenary of the first landing of American soldiers in France during WWI in June 1917. It is also a celebration of 100 years of friendship between France and the U.S. ever since that landing. The luxury cruise line Cunard, a company known for its rich history and significant role in both World Wars, is taking part in this historic celebration by sailing Queen Mary 2 from Saint Nazaire, France, where the ship was originally built, to her U.S. homeport in Brooklyn, New York, arriving on July 1.

The four multi-hulls accompanying Queen Mary 2 across the North Atlantic are helmed by award-winning skippers Thomas Coville for Sodebo Ultim, Francis Joyon for Idec Sport, and the two fastest around-the-world sailors, François Gabart for Macif, who has won the most races, and Yves Le Blévec for Actual.

"We are honored to be part of The Bridge 2017," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "Cunard, with its 177-year history, has been recognized for its role in World War I and we are privileged to be an important part of this historic event which celebrates Franco-American relations and their shared pastime of sailing."

Carnival Corporation & plc Reports Second Quarter Earnings
Carnival Corporation announced net income of $379 million, or $0.52 diluted EPS, for the second quarter of 2017 compared to U.S. GAAP net income for the second quarter of 2016 of $605 million, or $0.80 diluted EPS. Second quarter 2017 adjusted net income of $378 million, or $0.52 adjusted EPS, was higher than adjusted net income of $370 million, or $0.49 adjusted EPS, for the second quarter of 2016. Adjusted net income excludes unrealized gains/(losses) on fuel derivatives and other net charges, which totaled gains of $1 million for the second quarter 2017 and $235 million, or $0.31 per share, for the second quarter 2016. Revenues for the second quarter of 2017 of $3.9 billion were higher than the $3.7 billion in the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald noted, "Strong execution drove significant operational improvements, which more than offset the substantial drag from fuel and currency, leading to another second quarter adjusted earnings record. It was reinforcing to see over five percent improvement in cruise ticket prices, affirming our efforts to increase demand by building positive word of mouth through the delivery of exceptional guest experiences as well as our innovative marketing and public relations programs."

Highlights from the second quarter include the delivery of Princess Cruises' Majestic Princess, the first ship tailored for the China market, as well as the addition of AIDAperla to the company's German brand, AIDA Cruises. Also during the quarter, two additional Princess Cruises ships, Caribbean Princess and Royal Princess, were outfitted with the technical requirements to transition them in early 2018 to the Ocean Platform featuring Ocean MedallionTM. This cutting edge interactive guest experience will debut on Regal Princess this November.

Additionally, Carnival Corporation was ranked among the 100 Best Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility magazine and was ranked number one, globally, for the year's most engaging and informative sustainability report in the 10th annual Corporate Register Reporting Awards.

At this time, cumulative bookings for the next three quarters are higher at prices that are well ahead of the prior year. During the quarter, booking volumes for the next three quarters have been running in line with last year, also at prices that are well ahead.

Looking forward, Donald commented, "We are realizing sustained strength in booking trends across all core products. We are delivering on our strategy to grow demand in excess of measured capacity growth while leveraging our industry-leading scale resulting in increased return on invested capital. We are working hard to sustain the momentum. We have accelerated returns to shareholders through our recent dividend increase, with annual dividend distributions now approaching $1.2 billion, and the reauthorization of up to $1 billion in share repurchases." Donald added that the company has completed $2.7 billion in share repurchases since late 2015.

The Carnival said that it expects full year 2017 net revenue yields in constant currency to be up approximately 3.5 percent compared to the prior year, better than March guidance of up approximately 3 percent. Carnival said that it expects full year net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency to be up approximately 1.5 percent compared to March guidance of up approximately 1 percent. Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates compared to the prior year are expected to decrease earnings by $0.35 per share.

Taking the above factors into consideration, the company expects full year 2017 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $3.60 to $3.70 compared to March guidance of $3.50 to $3.70 and 2016 adjusted earnings per share of $3.45.

Third quarter constant currency net revenue yields are expected to be up approximately 4 percent compared to the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency for the third quarter of 2017 are expected to be in line with the prior year. Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates compared to the prior year are expected to decrease earnings by $0.05 per share. Based on the above factors, Carnival said that it expects adjusted earnings per share for the third quarter 2017 to be in the range of $2.16 to $2.20 versus 2016 adjusted earnings per share of $1.92.

Royal Caribbean Selects Brandwatch As Social Intelligence Provider
Brandwatch, the premier social intelligence company, announced today that Royal Caribbean International has selected Brandwatch as its social intelligence technology platform of record.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with a 48-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry "firsts" never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean including, jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike. In selecting their social intelligence partner, Royal Caribbean sought out a company that mirrored their approach to innovation and service; and found their counterpart in Brandwatch.

"We chose Brandwatch for their unparalleled platform stability when trying to engage and understand our most important community – our guests," said Kara Wallace, Vice President, North America Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. "Brandwatch's recent product releases and feature updates, along with their dedication to customer success, allows us to address social concerns in a timely fashion and put our guests first."

Brandwatch's social intelligence products and platforms will provide stable support to Royal Caribbean's customer service efforts. Brandwatch will enable Royal Caribbean to sift through its online discussions to determine which mentions need immediate attention, which customers need to be engaged with and which community members need to be amplified.

"Insight into consumer preferences - especially in the lucrative travel market - is critical for Royal Caribbean," said Rich Pasewark, Chief Revenue Officer at Brandwatch. "We are excited to help them use social media analysis to understand the cruise market and drive marketing decisions from the insights delivered by the Brandwatch platforms. Insights to action makes a difference for all of our clients, it enables them to improve their marketing and connect with their audiences."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.00 - 0.48%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 111.33 - 0.51%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.31 - 5.71%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.31 + 3.13%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When Cunard's Queen Mary departed New York for Europe in July of 1943 she carried a record number of passengers and crew - the most of any passenger vessel in war or peace. How many people did she carry on that historic voyage? (note: the closest answer wins this week's contest)

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Almost all cruise ships have a wide variety of bars and lounges where passengers can relax with a cocktail before or after dinner. What was the traditional name of the behind-the-scenes watering hole for crew members on the Queen Mary and other Cunard liners?

Answer - The first new build for Carnival was the Tropicale in 1981.
courtesy of Nigel Kibel


Cruise News - June 19, 2017

Holland America Details ms Westerdam Enhancements
When Holland America Line's ms Westerdam emerged from a 12-day dry dock at Fincantieri's shipyard in Palermo, Italy, in late April, the ship debuted major renovations that added many new public spaces and amenities, including two firsts for the fleet: Explorations Central, or EXC, in the Crow's Nest and Rijksmuseum at Sea. Westerdam also received the popular Music Walk venues Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard Onboard, the intimate Gallery Bar, a reimagined Lido Market and The Retreat area with private cabanas.

Newly released photos show the renovations, along with additional upgrades and modifications including suite upgrades, enhancements to the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, renovations to youth areas Club HAL and The Loft, and the new Holland America Line logo on the funnels. Deck 10 saw the addition of 25 guest staterooms, including 18 verandah and seven interior staterooms, increasing the capacity of the ship to 1,964 guests.

"We have many innovative new programs and enhancements launching across the fleet, and it's exciting to see them finally come to life on Westerdam, which is the first Holland America Line ship to get Rijksmuseum at Sea and EXC," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "Holland America Line is in a transformative era, and that will be reflected in on board spaces over the coming years as ships are updated with new venues and programming that are moving our brand forward."

Rijksmuseum at Sea Introduced on Westerdam
Holland America Line's partnership with Rijksmuseum — the Museum of the Netherlands in Amsterdam — celebrates the company's Dutch heritage. With Rijksmuseum at Sea on Westerdam, reproductions of some of the museum's most famous masterpieces are showcased at a dedicated space located on Deck One of the Atrium. Guests also can view videos about the museum and its collections on the in-stateroom television.

New EXC (Explorations Central) Program Unveiled on Westerdam
Holland America Line is amplifying its destination immersion experiences with the launch of EXC programming on Westerdam. The multifaceted EXC experience combines a wide array of indispensable travel resources with enrichment opportunities for guests making their travel experience more engaging, vivid and meaningful. Much of the EXC experience is featured in the newly created Exploration Central's hub located in the Crow's Nest, now a comprehensive resource and engagement center with interactive screens and a Virtual Bridge. EXC programming also offers a full EXC Team to engage with guests, EXC Tours, EXC Destination Guides, EXC Channel and Theater EXC.

Music Walk Adds Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard Onboard
Guests have even more entertainment options with the addition of Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard Onboard, complementing the already-existing and wildly popular B.B. King's Blues Club. Under the exclusive partnership, Lincoln Center Stage showcases an ensemble of world-class musicians performing multiple chamber music programs nightly, while Billboard Onboard features the talents of two pianists performing dynamic shows centered around the interesting facts and figures of the music industry as chronicled by Billboard.

Raising a Glass in Gallery Bar
During the dry dock, Westerdam received the intimate Gallery Bar. The sophisticated venue, serving an exclusive cocktail menu created by celebrity mixologist Dale DeGroff, replaces Northern Lights and is adorned with an eclectic and whimsical mix of artwork including portraits, landscapes, still lifes and abstract pieces.

America's Test Kitchen Receives New Look
America's Test Kitchen also sports a new look with the room receiving a new color palate and enhancements to the show kitchen featuring gray and red motifs as well as new tables and chairs for guests viewing the cooking demonstrations. Produced in partnership with the namesake, long-running public television cooking program, America's Test Kitchen features shipboard cooking demonstrations and hands-on workshops — with topics ranging from creating authentic Asian dumplings to making the perfect pie crust — that will combine foolproof, accessible recipes and cooking techniques that are rooted in the rigorous testing and science-based approach of America's Test Kitchen.

Food and Service Reign at Lido Market
The traditional, casual Lido buffet has been transformed into the Lido Market concept — a marketplace with different themed stations offering a selection of delicious options guests can grab on the go or have quickly made to order. Areas include fresh-baked breads and pastries at Breadboard, classic comfort food at Homestead, dishes from around the globe at Distant Lands, Wild Harvest's freshly made personalized salads, and sweet treats at Sweet Spot.

Service at Lido Market is enhanced with coffee, juices, water and iced tea served tableside, and in the evening the tables have an upgraded setting with placemats, glassware and cutlery awaiting guests after they have selected their food from the new menu.

To further complete Westerdam's transformation, 25 new staterooms were added near the top of the ship on Deck 10. The 18 verandah and seven interior staterooms increase the ship's capacity to 1,964 guests.

Additionally, the suites on board received the fleetwide suite upgrades. The main living area was refreshed with a new headboard, new carpet, wall coverings, a privacy curtain, drapery, bed runner and bed skirt. New quartz-stone surfaces were added to the desk, dresser, nightstands and makeup vanity which, along with new vanity lighting, enhance the cosmetic transformation. Electronic upgrades include a new USB outlet added to the bed's headboard, bedside LED lights, upgraded electrical outlets and a lighted closet rod. Suite bathrooms also were upgraded, including a wall of designer glass tile, new vanity area, stylish floor tiles and a nightlight.

A new interactive television system was installed throughout the ship, featuring large LED flat-screen TVs with complimentary movies and popular TV shows on demand as well as easy access to the daily program and shipboard information including restaurant overviews, spa services and guest billing.

Outside on Deck 11, The Retreat was relocated from Deck 10, providing a quiet lounging area and 15 private cabanas available for rental that offer a relaxing oasis on deck. Various other public spaces around the ship received new soft furnishings including carpets, drapery, chairs and sofas, while additional outside enhancements include new pool deck loungers and teak decking.

Westerdam currently is cruising the Mediterranean on 12-day itineraries between Barcelona, Spain, and Venice or Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy.

Yao Ming and Ye Li Officially Name the New Majestic Princess
Princess Cruises announced today that Yao Ming and his wife, Ye Li, will serve as Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors for Princess Cruises in China and officially name the new Majestic Princess during a ceremony and gala celebration.

The inaugural festivities will take place aboard Majestic Princess in Shanghai on July 9, as the culmination of weeks of celebrations, upholding maritime traditions, as well as featuring traditional Chinese, contemporary Chinese, and western-inspired cultural performances that took place between Rome and Xiamen.

"It is a great honor that Yao Ming and Ye Li have graciously accepted our invitation to officially name Majestic Princess and serve as the Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors at our celebration welcoming our newest ship to China," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "Yao Ming is globally recognized for his success in China and the United States, truly embodying the 'East meets West' spirit of our international cruise line."

Yao Ming and his wife, Ye Li, were both born in Shanghai and were both team members of China's national basketball teams. Yao Ming is an icon, one of the world's best-known athletes, a global ambassador of basketball, an eight-time NBA All-Star, and most recently, an inductee into the NBA Hall of Fame.

The couple has established The Yao Foundation in response to the devastating 8.0 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China in 2008. The Yao Foundation funded the construction of 23 schools in the region, Yao Foundation Hope Primary Schools, and is currently focused on helping provide sports education to the youth generation in the countryside regions of China with the implementation of "Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Season" projects. They help to select volunteers to support sports education and basketball training, organize basketball leagues for the rural primary schools to help more students learn the team sport and understand the importance of growing up with fitness and good health. This year will be the 10th year for "Yao Foundation Charity event." It has become the biggest, the longest and most influential sports charity event in China. In 2017, Yao Foundation Charity event tournament will begin on July 30 in Hong Kong.

"We are honored to serve as the Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors for Princess Cruises and officially name the new Majestic Princess," said Yao Ming. "I'm inspired that Princess Cruises also cares so deeply about youth development in China and appreciate their support of our foundation. We look forward to enjoying a future vacation aboard Majestic Princess, China's newest cruise ship."

Majestic Princess promises the ultimate cruise vacation for Chinese travelers, offering Princess Cruises' renowned warm, welcoming, international service – now enhanced for Chinese travelers' satisfaction. The new cruise ship also features two specialty dinner menus by Michelin star-awarded chefs at Harmony and La Mer, "Fantastic Journey," the most technologically-advanced, immersive musical and cinematic production show at sea, and the Princess Luxury Bed developed with board-of-medicine certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus.

Princess Cruises is also debuting "Camp Discovery" – an interactive family enrichment program developed in part by Discovery Communications, California Science Center, and educators from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University – that is designed to foster creativity and initiate a love for learning that prepares children to better navigate their education and development at early learning ages.

Majestic Princess is currently sailing on her "Silk Road Sea Route" – a 49-day journey from Rome to Shanghai, retracing the ancient Chinese maritime Silk Road trade route. During the voyage, she will have visited a total of 22 ports including Athens, Dubai, Cochin, Singapore, Port Klang, and Xiamen before her arrival at Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal. Majestic Princess will begin her first homeport season in Shanghai on July 11.

In 2018, two 14-day Grand Asia voyage sailings between Shanghai and Singapore, will be available to guests throughout the world on Majestic Princess. These sailings will visit Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand, including spending more time ashore on the late night call in Hong Kong. The first voyage departs Shanghai on February 25, 2018, with the second departing Singapore on March 11, 2018.

Princess Cruises will also call Australia home from September 2018 to March 2019. Majestic Princess will sail itineraries from Sydney and Auckland on voyages from 6 to 13 days in length, and will call in ports at destinations including New Zealand, Tasmania, Fiji and other islands in the South Pacific.

Seabourn Offering New Cruise Itineraries For Fall 2018 And Winter 2019
Seabourn will feature new worldwide itineraries for the fall 2018 and winter 2019 seasons. The new program includes 37 unique sailings to hidden harbors, marquee ports and must-see cities accessible only by smaller ships. As always, Seabourn guests can look forward to exceptional personalized service, lavish amenities and unique experiences from the newest and most modern fleet in the luxury segment. Guests will have the opportunity to sail aboard Seabourn's newest ships, Seabourn Encore, which launched in late 2016, and Seabourn Ovation, which is scheduled to launch in May 2018.

The fall 2018 and winter 2019 seasons will allow guests to see our Extraordinary World with 103 departures of seven to 66 days in length, visiting exotic destinations in South America & Antarctica, India, Arabia, Australia & New Zealand, and Southeast Asia, along with classic favorites including the Panama Canal, Canada/New England, and the Caribbean. The itineraries, fares and additional details of Seabourn's complete fall 2018/winter 2019 cruise schedule can be viewed at

"Each year we meticulously craft itineraries with carefully selected experiences to show guests the world as only Seabourn can," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "These itineraries will be truly exciting for our guests as they visit fascinating destinations around the world from the comforts of the finest ultra-luxury experience at sea."

Highlights for the Seabourn fleet include:

• Seabourn Ovation – Following the ship's 2018 inaugural summer season in Europe, the line's newest ship will depart Athens on a 20-day Holy Land and Arabia voyage headed to Dubai. An additional 18-day voyage of Arabia, India and Sri Lanka will position the ship in Singapore to begin the ship's inaugural Asia season of five 14-day voyages between Singapore and Hong Kong. These itineraries will feature the line's popular Caviar in the Surf beach parties at Ko Kood in Thailand, an overnight stay at Ho Chi Minh City and an extended day at Halong Bay in Vietnam, allowing for optional excursions to Hanoi. The season will also include a 14-day voyage from Hong Kong to Singapore visiting China, the Philippines, and Kota Kinabalu (Borneo) in Malaysia, providing options for appealing 28-day combo cruises with the Vietnam/Thailand voyages. The ship will then depart Singapore on a 22-day voyage to Dubai via Myanmar, India and Oman, followed by a 20-day voyage to Arabia and the Holy Land, arriving in Athens to begin the 2019 Europe season.

• Seabourn Encore – Following the summer season, Seabourn Encore will depart the Mediterranean bound for Australia & New Zealand via four voyages: 19 days through the Holy Land and Arabia; 18 days through Arabia and India to Singapore; a seven-day voyage between Singapore and Benoa, Bali, visiting Java and Celukan Bawang, Bali; and an 18-day sailing from Bali to Sydney via the Great Barrier Reef. The 2018-2019 season in Australia & New Zealand will consist of four 16-day voyages between Sydney and Auckland, interspersed with two alternate 16-day South Pacific Islands voyages round-trip from Auckland, visiting New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji. The start of spring will see Seabourn Encore depart Sydney for a 16-day voyage, featuring the Queensland Coast & Great Barrier Reef, plus Indonesia islands to Bali. A 10-day Gems of the Java Sea voyage will highlight Bali and Komodo, plus several ports on Java before reaching Singapore. The return to Europe will include a 16-day cruise through India and Arabia to Dubai, and an 18-day voyage from Dubai to Athens via the Holy Land.

• Seabourn Quest – During fall 2018, Seabourn Quest will sail on four 10-day Canadian Maritimes & New England voyages between Montreal and Boston, as well as a 12-day cruise round-trip from Montreal. A 14-day positioning cruise ends in Miami, from which Seabourn Quest will sail 25 days southward to visit Key West, pass through the Panama Canal, and explore the Inca Coast of Peru. Seabourn Quest will then sail on five voyages in Antarctica & Patagonia, including a 24-day Holiday voyage from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso that features the South Georgia Experience and Ventures by Seabourn optional kayaking excursions led by the ship's top-flight expedition team. In spring 2019, Seabourn Quest will depart from Buenos Aires to travel up the coast of Brazil on a 21-day voyage into the Amazon. The ship will then sail a 24-day itinerary from Manaus, down the Amazon and across the Atlantic to Lisbon for its summer season in Europe.

• Seabourn Odyssey – Following an Atlantic crossing, Seabourn Odyssey's fall 2018 season begins with a series of 18 seven-day Caribbean cruises between Bridgetown, Barbados and Philipsburg, Sint Maarten. Each of the cruises will offer both a Caviar in the Surf beach barbecue at Carambola Beach, St. Kitts or Mayreau in the Grenadines, as well as a Marina Day at Jost Van Dyke or Iles des Saintes. (All subject to conditions.) In early spring, Seabourn Odyssey will cross the Atlantic to Lisbon in 11 days, and then sail 14 days through the Canary Islands, Morocco and Spain to Barcelona to be poised for another European season.

Itineraries for Seabourn Sojourn are currently being finalized and will be announced soon. The ship will feature a number of Extended Explorations voyages in late 2018 & 2019, which are suited to the traveler looking for a longer, more in-depth experience from their journey.

Royal Caribbean Brings Underwater Adventures To Life With First-Of-Its-Kind Snapchat Experience
Royal Caribbean invites the world to experience a first-of-its-kind underwater adventure through the lens of Snapchat Spectacles. From June 21 to June 25, Royal Caribbean's Snapchat channel will immerse viewers in a one of-a-kind underwater adventure thanks to a custom-designed scuba mask dubbed "SeaSeekers." The mask was custom engineered by the cruise line for use with Snapchat Spectacles. It allows the wearer to snap while underwater and will give those above the surface a unique perspective into the intriguing underwater world of marine life. Fans can #SeekDeeper by following @RoyalCaribbean on Snapchat.

"The SeaSeekers will enable all adventure-seekers to get a front-row seat to the thrilling adventures found underwater in a way that has never been possible before," said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer and SVP of Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. "Snapchat continues to be a favorite channel for curious travellers and is the ideal platform for this first-of-its-kind undersea exploration. We are excited to find an innovative way to use the Snapchat Spectacles with our SeaSeekers mask so that we can bring the underwater experience to our guests as they visit the incredible destinations we sail to. We've even taken the added step of applying for a patent for the SeaSeekers mask so that we can bring it to our guests exclusively."

The three dives will feature incredible underwater adventures seen through the eyes of three well-known divers. In Cozumel, Mexico marine wildlife photographer and conservationist Roberto Ochoa will give viewers a rare glimpse into the annual migration of Whale Sharks. Marine Biologist Gabriela Nava and co-founder of the organization Oceanus, A.C. based in Mexico, will then take viewers to see a coral reef restoration project where she and her team have been working to restore the local reefs. In Belize, fans can follow along as free diver Ashleigh Baird visits the Great Blue Hole, an underwater sinkhole that is believed to be the largest of its kind.

Fans can follow along on Royal Caribbean's Snapchat channel or by searching on other social platforms by using #SeekDeeper.

For A Hefty Price, Crystal Gives Guests VIP Access To Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Formula 1 Race
Adrenaline rushes are inevitable for Crystal Symphony guests in Abu Dhabi this November, as Crystal unveils three exclusive ways for travelers to experience the most glamourous international event in the United Arab Emirates. During the "Indian Ocean Discovery" voyage, the ultra-luxury ship will arrive in Abu Dhabi on November 25 for an overnight stay just in time for the capital city's Formula 1 Grand Prix at the famed Yas Marina Circuit. The 55-lap, approximately 190-mile race draws drivers from around the world to compete for the pole position. Crystal guests will enjoy VIP views for each lap, heightening the thrill of the event.

The most exclusive Crystal package for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix transports guests by luxury coach from the ship to Yas Island, where the Marina is located, and positions them in the heart of the action with Formula TEAM One Paddock Club™ access, with either Team Red Bull or Team Ferrari. Participants will walk the pit lane and enjoy premier seating in the air-conditioned upper floors of the pit building, as well as fine cuisine and beverage service throughout the day, open bar and access to the roof terrace to mingle with fellow VIP guests. Fares for this option are $9,999 per person.

A second race option offers premium hospitality seating in the shaded top level in the grand stand, offering access to an air-conditioned lounge where food and non-alcoholic beverages will be served throughout the race. Fares for this option are $2,399 per person.

A third option offers guests race tickets with premium grand stand seating, affording the opportunity to take in the contest amidst the excitement of the crowd and fellow race enthusiasts. Fares for this option are $999 per person.

"Regardless of one's chosen level of exclusive access, attendance of this remarkable international event is an unforgettable opportunity for any traveller," says Crystal CEO and President Edie Rodriguez.

In addition to Abu Dhabi, the 17-day voyage begins with an overnight in Dubai and a maiden call in Doha, Qatar before cruising the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean en route to Mahé/Victoria, Seychelles; Nosy Bé and Maroantsetra (maiden call), Madagascar; and Mauritius/Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius. All-inclusive cruise only fares start at $3,995 per person.

Carnival Corporation Issues Statement on Updates to Cuba Policy
Carnival Corporation issued the following statement this week in the wake of the recently announced U.S. Government changes to its Cuba policy: Carnival Corporation is pleased that the policy changes announced by the Trump administration will allow our ships to continue to sail to Cuba. We will review the extent of the tightening of the travel rules, but our guests have already been traveling under the 12 approved forms of travel to Cuba since we undertook our historic first cruise to Cuba more than a year ago.

Our experience in Cuba this past year has been extremely positive. We look forward to the new cruises being planned for Cuba with Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line. We also have requested approval for our other brands to travel to Cuba.

Travel brings people and cultures together, so we are excited about the upcoming cruises to Cuba for our guests.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.32 + 4.29%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 111.90 + 1.82%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.45 + 2.51%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.63 + 6.37%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name of the first new build for Carnival Cruise Lines and what year did she enter service?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Almost all cruise ships have a wide variety of bars and lounges where passengers can relax with a cocktail before or after dinner. What was the traditional name of the behind-the-scenes watering hole for crew members on the Queen Mary and other Cunard liners?

Answer - A famous and traditional place for Cunard crewmembers to hang out during off-duty hours, is the Pig & Whistle (after that in London) Affectionately known as the PIG.
courtesy of Marie Zuhosky


Cruise News - June 12, 2017

Symphony of the Seas Floated Out of Drydock

The newest member of Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis class of ships, Symphony of the Seas, is now one step closer to full completion as her April 2018 debut approaches. With the exterior now complete, Symphony of the Seas was floated out of her dry dock to begin the next phase of interior construction.

Symphony of the Seas will spend her inaugural summer season exploring the awe-inspiring destinations of the Mediterranean calling on ports in Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy. She will then arrive to Miami in early November to begin 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

Symphony of the Seas will claim the title of the world’s largest – and most adventure-filled – cruise ship, offering 28 more staterooms than her newest sister ship Harmony of the Seas and encompassing 230,000 gross registered tons.

Touting new features and amenities for guests, Symphony also will boast all the groundbreaking innovations and thrilling experiences that have garnered worldwide recognition for Harmony of the Seas. Among the award-winning and acclaimed favorites are the distinct seven-neighborhood concept, imaginative and sophisticated dining, Bionic Bar robot bartenders powered by Makr Shakr, Broadway-caliber entertainment, the iconic waterfront AquaTheater, the Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, and Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea.

Cunard Reveals Completion of $40 Million Refurbishment of Queen Victoria
Cunard's iconic ship Queen Victoria made her much-anticipated return to Southampton yesterday, showing off an array of stunning new features following an impressive $40 million refurbishment.

First-look photography released today reveals the fruits of Cunard's labor, from large mesmerizing enhancements to the subtle details, impeccable care and diligence has been taken to ensure passengers are greeted with the ultimate luxury experience from the moment they step on board.

Exquisite interior design takes center stage in the new Britannia Club Restaurant and continues to triumph within the new 43 spacious Britannia Club staterooms. Further enhancements on board include beautifully refined and redesigned Grand and Penthouse Suites, as well as a luxurious new sun deck offering space and tranquillity and a stunning enhanced Winter Garden. Every stateroom has been refreshed, including the installation of large flat screen TVs and much requested tea and coffee making facilities.

The regal ship, which was taken out of service on May 5 to undergo the refit at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo in Italy, returned to service in style yesterday, setting off on a floral adventure to the Canary Islands, as part of a special Festival of Flowers voyage.

"The combined investment of $172 million for Queen Victoria's refit along with Queen Mary 2's remastering is a testament to Cunard's commitment to our iconic vessels and enhancing our passenger experience," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "With the new designs and enhanced onboard offerings Queen Victoria is poised to sail the next generation of Cunarders offering unparalleled voyages."

Pacific Princess Emerges from Drydock
After a two-week, multi-million-dollar renovation, Pacific Princess debuted today in Ft. Lauderdale with new modern colors, patterns and textures, while still keeping the small ship essence and traditional architecture revered by Princess Cruises guests.

Guests will now experience several new enhancements with the addition of the new livery hull design featuring the cruise line's iconic brand mark; 700 Princess Luxury Beds and 336 refreshed staterooms including the new Club Class Mini-Suites; four refurbished dining venues; an updated Atrium and pool deck; and 178,000 square feet of new carpet. The Princess Luxury Beds and Club Class Mini-Suites add to the cruise line's previously announced "Come Back New Promise," a multi-year, multi-million-dollar program introducing new product innovations that offer guests enriching vacation experiences.

"We carefully considered how to incorporate modern design elements and comfort while keeping the traditional elements of small ship cruising that have always been the hallmark of Pacific Princess," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "The results are incredible and Pacific Princess now offers approachable luxury for the world-class traveler to craft an authentic cruising experience."

Upon boarding Pacific Princess, guests walk into a modernized, yet familiar, welcoming Atrium. This area, as well the overall ship style, maintains the existing classical Beaux-Arts dark, rich, architectural millwork, ornamentation, vaulted stained glass ceiling and spectacular grand staircase. In contrast, guests will experience modern styling with warm, light tonal elements and that take their cue from the sophisticated uptown luxury hotels lining Central Park in New York City.

The four dining areas now offer a range of intimate to expanded gathering spaces, including:

• Sterling Steakhouse – this traditional steakhouse offers décor reminiscent of the infamous Rush Street Steakhouses of Chicago and the golden era of the Hollywood Brown Derby. Diners are surrounded by silky drapery, comfortable upholstered arm chairs and black and white photographs of movie stars, both classic and contemporary, for guests of all ages to enjoy.
• Sabatini's Restaurant – drawing inspiration from Sabatini's authentic heritage, the beloved specialty restaurant is updated with modern Italian-designed furnishings, freshly painted walls and ceiling, new carpet, reupholstered chairs, refreshed draperies and a new lounge area in front of the restaurant.
• The Club Restaurant – the main dining room enhancements were inspired by the fashionable district and hotels of Central London with classic architectural millwork surrounding the rhythmic pattern of Palladium arched windows, softened by contemporary draperies, overlooking the ocean. The room's rich, dark woods are contrasted with a warm and inviting light palette highlighted with fresh, vibrant, jewel-tones within the modern furnishings, updated carpets, draperies and upholstered arm chairs.
• The Panorama Buffet – also receiving a complete makeover, the room invites guests in with new carpeting, fresh paint, new tilework, updated furniture, draperies and awnings. The dining room opens up to the outdoor deck, alfresco dining area with spectacular views overlooking exotic ports of call.

The heart of the ship is transformed into a cool garden-like atmosphere, inspired by the swanky Art Deco boutique hotels of South Beach. With new tiles, refinished teak woods, lounge furniture including double bed loungers and casual seating groups of outdoor living sofas, lounge chairs and pool chaises for guests to relax, unwind and soak up the sun.

All guests can delight in the ultimate sleep at sea in the Princess Luxury Bed, as Pacific Princess has 700 new beds and plush linens. Developed in collaboration with board-certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus and renowned HGTV designer Candice Olson, the bed combines the science of sleep with the pinnacle of design. In addition, the 10 luxury guest suites and all staterooms have been updated with new plush light-colored carpet, fully upholstered headboards, modern style draperies and decorative lamps and wall sconces with USB ports incorporated into the fixtures for guest convenience. The suites also will have new contemporary furniture including a sleeper sofa, dining room table and chairs, lounge chairs and desks.

Pacific Princess now offers Club Class Mini-Suites, the new premium stateroom category featuring VIP amenities and exclusive dining. This elevated mini-suite category features select perks including new Club Class Dining, a reserved dining area with first priority in choosing their preferred seating and expanded menu options and priority embarkation and disembarkation.

Pacific Princess departs today from Ft. Lauderdale on an 18-day Fire & Ice Explorer cruise to London. The ship will sail various European itineraries through December, before departing on a 111-day World Cruise from Los Angeles on January 20, 2018.

Senior Officers Selected For New Carnival Horizon
Carnival Cruise Line has announced the appointment of the senior officers for its newest ship, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, which is currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy and set to debut in spring 2018.

Comprised of some of the most talented and experienced mariners in the cruise industry, Carnival Horizon’s senior officers will include:

• Captain Luigi De Angelis – A 22-year veteran of Carnival Cruise Line, De Angelis joined the company as a deck cadet aboard the Carnival Imagination in 1995 and was named captain in 2010. During his Carnival career, De Angelis has been part of the start-up teams of five ships and most recently served as master of the line’s newest ship, Carnival Vista, during its inaugural season in Miami.

• Chief Engineer Rosario Capilli – Capilli joined Carnival in 1990 following a career in the tanker and cargo industries in his native Italy. He was named chief engineer in 2002 and has served in this capacity on a number of Carnival ships, including Carnival Vista during its inaugural season. During his 27-year Carnival career, Capilli has served on the start-up teams for three Carnival ships.

• Hotel Director Pierre B. Camilleri – Now in his 13th year with Carnival, Camilleri joined the company as hotel director after managing hotel and resort properties in his native Malta, as well as North Africa, Italy and China. He has served as hotel director on several Carnival ships and traveled to Italy to be a part of the inaugural teams for the line’s two most recent newbuilds – Carnival Breeze and Carnival Vista.

These talented professionals will lead a team of nearly 1,400 dedicated employees who will travel to Marghera, Italy, to prepare the ship for its April 2, 2018 maiden voyage – a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona.

Carnival Horizon will also operate two seven-day Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona departing April 15 and 22, 2018, and a 10-day Mediterranean cruise departing April 29, 2018, before repositioning to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Carnival Horizon will then operate a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple before shifting to Miami to launch year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018.

As the line’s newest ship, Carnival Horizon will offer a wide range of onboard innovations, including a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre, and a delicious array of dining choices, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi, the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant and Ji Ji Asian Kitchen. Carnival Horizon will also be the first ship to feature a colorful Dr. Seuss-themed WaterWorks park – part of an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Azamara Journey And Azamara Quest Unite To Celebrate Best Friends Day
In celebration of National Best Friends Day on June 8, sister ships Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest made a rare appearance together in Barcelona, meeting for the first time since September 2013 in Venice. In honor of this unique event, a number of perfect pairing activities fit for the best of friends took place for guests onboard, as well as social contests for those tuning in from afar.

Favored by travelers looking for rich cultural immersions and new experiences, Azamara is known for its signature Destination Immersion programming, which provides unique voyages and curated shore excursions. The up-market cruise line rarely repeats an itinerary, which made this meeting of its two ships distinctive as Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey are seldom found in the same region of the world, let alone the same port.

"Our Destination Immersion promise means that our boutique hotels at sea often are oceans apart as they chart our exceptional, unique itineraries," said Larry Pimentel, President & CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. "The reuniting of Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest after almost 4 years is a significant reminder that, while we deliver unmatched experiences on land across the globe, we always collectively come together to up the ante with new and exciting offerings for our guests."

Best Friends Day is being celebrated onboard with a number of unique guest experiences and offers. A Chef's Table raffle will take place, awarding at random a lucky stateroom winner on each ship a dinner for two. In the spirit of honoring pairs, the corresponding stateroom on the sister ship will also be declared a winner.

As the ships sailed together out of the Barcelona port, the momentous occasion was marked with a sail-away party on the pool decks of both the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. Azamara Journey's Cruise Director Eric DeGray led a fleet wide toast as guests onboard both ships simultaneously cheered in celebration, followed by a night of dancing under the stars.

Azamara fans joining the celebration from afar can partake in the fun by visiting their photo gallery, or following @AzamaraVoyages, @AzamaraJourney, @AzamaraQuest and #SistersMeet on Twitter. Now through June 14, travelers looking to plan their next AzAmazing adventure with their best travel companion can head to AzamaraClubCruises.com/sistersmeet and vote for how they would spend a day in Barcelona, receiving a promotion code offering $300-$500 onboard credit* to apply towards their next voyage.

Azamara Journey kicked off its 7-Night Tapas and Wine voyage with the sister ship sailing celebration and will continue on a journey through Spain and Portugal, while Azamara Quest is nearing the end of an 11-Night Mediterranean sailing which will soon disembark in France.

Carnival Cruise Line Introduces Carnival EasyPay
In a cruise industry first, Carnival Cruise Line has launched a convenient new pay-over-time program that allows guests to pay for their cruise in three monthly installments.

“Carnival EasyPay is designed as a truly hassle-free vacation payment option as it allows guests' cruise payments to be automatically deducted from the credit card on file and applied to their current balance interest-free over a three-month period.

Guests simply make their initial cruise deposit and then the balance of their cruise is charged in three equal payments which are taken out automatically on the same designated day for three consecutive months. Guests can either register for the program at carnival.com or via the line's call centers. Travel agents can also sign up for Carnival EasyPay to process payments on behalf of their clients.

"A Carnival cruise is already the most affordable and value-packed vacation there is and with Carnival EasyPay we're making budgeting and paying for a cruise even easier and more convenient," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Rather than having to remember to pay for their cruise, Carnival EasyPay provides guests with peace of mind knowing that their payment is being processed automatically. Carnival EasyPay certainly lives up to its name!"

Guests must make a required deposit on their cruise fare to be eligible for Carnival EasyPay. Additionally, the deposit due date must be at least 90 days before the final payment date. The first installment is charged to guests' credit card 30 days from the date of the deposit with two additional monthly installments thereafter. While Carnival EasyPay is available at no cost, guests are responsible for any interest charges by their credit card provider.

Guests are prompted to select Carnival EasyPay in the "How Would You Like to Pay" section of carnival.com when ready to make payment on their booking. Guests can also sign up for or cancel Carnival EasyPay after the initial deposit is made by visiting the "Manage My Booking" tab on carnival.com.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 63.59 - 2.26%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 109.90 - 1.93%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.39 + 0.42%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 50.42 + 0.22%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Almost all cruise ships have a wide variety of bars and lounges where passengers can relax with a cocktail before or after dinner. What was the traditional name of the behind-the-scenes watering hole for crew members on the Queen Mary and other Cunard liners?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which famous former liner served as James Bond's headquarters in the film "The Man with the Golden Gun"?

Answer - The ship in question was the wreck of the Seawise University (ex Queen Elizabeth). The ship caught fire and sunk in Hong Kong Harbour (arson?) in 1972. The wreck was scrapped a few years later.
courtesy of Kevin Martin, Gibralter


Cruise News - June 5, 2017

MSC Cruises Christens The Biggest Ship To Be Built By A European Ship Owner
On Saturday, June 3, the latest wonder in the MSC Cruises fleet, MSC Meraviglia was christened in a glittering ceremony by international screen legend and godmother of all of MSC Cruises’ ships, Sophia Loren. At 171,598 GRT and with guest capacity of 5,714 (4,488 at double occupancy), MSC Meraviglia is the biggest ship to be built by a European ship owner, MSC Cruises, and also the biggest ship to come into service in 2017.

MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, hosted the glamorous, high-profile event in Le Havre, with entertainment from top international performers and an exclusive gala dinner in the company of special guests, authorities, key partners from the travel industry, global media and top management from MSC Cruises and its parent company MSC Group. Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Group’s founder and executive chairman as well as the ship owner, attended together with the Aponte and Aponte-Vago families.

“We have an ambitious vision for the future and MSC Meraviglia marks the start of the second phase of growth for our Company,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman. “For this reason, this is an extremely proud moment for all of us at MSC Cruises as we see the first of our next-generation ships being named.”

The new ships that we are building — between 2017 and 2020 alone, we will receive six new ships — are purpose-built, featuring innovation in both product and design, as well as the very latest-cutting edge marine and consumer-facing technology to create unforgettable holiday experiences at sea for guests of all ages. MSC Meraviglia is the first to make this vision come to life, as it sets a new standard for cruise ships as a destination in itself.”

MSC Meraviglia is the Company’s new flagship and the 13th addition to the MSC Cruises fleet as well as the first new MSC Cruises ship due to come into service under the Company’s industry-unprecedented investment plan.

Both the ship herself and Saturday's event have been inspired by the wonders of the world, as Meraviglia literally means wonder. The christening ceremony itself was hosted by one of Europe’s most loved comedians, Gad Elmaleh. The audience was also entertained by internationally renowned artist Patrick Bruel who performed a selection of his most loved songs. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Kids United also performed representing a diverse world, promoting peace and tolerance 1.

The crowning moment of the evening was the parade of the ship’s officers, when Sophia Loren cut the ribbon and named MSC Meraviglia to a time-honored crescendo of champagne and fireworks. Mrs. Loren has held a close relationship with MSC Cruises for over a decade, when she first became godmother of MSC Lirica, in 2003. As the MSC Cruises fleet continued to grow, she blessed each and every new ship, reflecting MSC Cruises' belief not only in loyalty, but also in Loren's unique beauty, talent and elegant style — the same elements that distinguish every aspect on board an MSC Cruises ship.

In order to conclude on a note of haute cuisine Hélène Darroze, the chef with the 2 Michelin stars created an exceptional menu for the VIP gala dinner as well as an exclusive dish for all guests. The menu takes inspiration from Chef Darroze’s passion for combining the flavors of France with those of the UK to create a simple yet elegant gourmet experience for the guests. MSC Cruises and Chef Darroze hope to extend the collaboration beyond the evening of the christening and work is underway to establish a partnership.

MSC Meraviglia is able to call in most of the world’s international cruise ports and is set to become one of the hottest destinations at sea. Some of the unique features that set MSC Cruises’ newest flagship apart include: • Widest range of dining options and bars on any MSC Cruises ship to-date with 12 dining venues and 20 bars
• As a family-owned company, kids’ activities and services are at the very core of the guest offering and the dedicated family deck area includes a brand new entertainment offering and cutting-edge facilities for the whole family.
• MSC for Me, the new digital experience designed for guests to get the most out of their vacation, connecting them to the experiences that matter to them
• The MSC Yacht Club with new features and luxurious accommodations spanning three decks, private facilities and butler service round-the-clock
• The longest LED Sky Screen at Sea at 262 feet long encompassing a stunning 315 foot long Mediterranean-style promenade, designed to become the social hub of the ship
• Comfortable and innovative accommodations to meet every need demonstrating the way that MSC Cruises puts the guest at the heart of its designs and ship building and with 10 different types of staterooms to choose from, there really is something for everyone.

MSC Meraviglia commenced her maiden voyage from Le Havre to Genoa on June 4 and will begin her summer itinerary from Genoa from June 11. MSC Meraviglia will offer multiple embarkation ports in the Western Mediterranean including the popular ports of Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona as well as visit other much sought after Mediterranean destinations including Naples, Messina in Sicily and Valetta in Malta.

Carnival Recognized by U.S. Coast Guard for Aiding Mariners in Distress
Carnival Cruise Line was presented with an Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) Award from the U.S. Coast Guard recognizing the cruise line’s role in aiding mariners in distress. The award was presented earlier this week at a reception held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The AMVER System, sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard, is a computer-based voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. The AMVER Awards Program was inaugurated in 1971 to recognize those vessels which regularly participate in the AMVER System and assist others in distress at sea.

The duty to render assistance at sea to those in need is a universal obligation undertaken by the entire maritime community. Carnival and other cruise operators frequently render assistance at sea at their own cost, on their own initiative, or at the direct request of the United States Coast Guard and other authorities, including through the AMVER program.

Royal Caribbean Sets Course For Historic Total Solar Eclipse
The "Great American Eclipse," 99 years in the making, is already booking up hotels across the country, and Royal Caribbean International is providing the perfect solution for thrill seekers to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event. The world's most adventurous cruise line will host an out-of-this-world, 7-night Caribbean sailing on Oasis of the Seas, which will cruise to the optimal spot at sea for guests to witness the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. Taking place on one of the world's largest and most adventure-packed ships, the Total Eclipse Cruise will feature a bucket-list-worthy viewing party with a live concert performed by a major headliner – to be revealed at a later date – to celebrate the celestial phenomenon that is poised to become the most photographed, most shared and most tweeted event in human history.

"We're set to take vacationers on an unprecedented experience that is nearly a century in the making," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "A total solar eclipse hasn't crossed the entire U.S. since 1918, and with many of our ships sailing to the Caribbean along the projected path, the stars aligned. Oasis of the Seas will have the vantage point of the century and an unforgettable celebration out at sea that adventurers won't want to miss."

The optimal viewing area along the eclipse's path stretches across the country from Oregon to South Carolina before passing over the Atlantic Ocean. On this trajectory, the sun will be entirely covered by the moon, and a moment this unique deserves an equally impressive experience. During this brag-worthy adventure to idyllic islands in the Caribbean, guests on Oasis of the Seas will be treated to a full slate of eclipse-themed activities, including dance parties, trivia, enrichment lectures, interactive science fun for kids, and tasty cocktails and dishes with names like the Cosmic Cosmo, Planetary Punch and Moon Pie, ensuring the most memorable and adventurous way to commemorate the Great American Eclipse.

In addition to celebrating this historic event on board one of the largest cruise ships in the world, thrill seekers also will enjoy Oasis of the Seas' bold and unexpected lineup of experiences and amenities. From two FlowRider surf simulators and a zip line nine decks high – speeding riders 82 feet across an open-air atrium, to unparalleled entertainment, including Broadway's hit musical CATS and high-diving, acrobatic performances in the iconic AquaTheater; and world-class dining at 150 Central Park by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, there is an adventure for travelers of all ages aboard Oasis.

The 7-night Total Eclipse Cruise on board Oasis of the Seas will set sail on Aug. 20, 2017 from Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida and visit Eastern Caribbean destinations: Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Nassau, Bahamas. Adventurers can learn more and book now to witness this historic event at sea by visiting RoyalCaribbean.com/TotalEclipse, calling (800) ROYAL- CARIBBEAN or contacting their travel agent.

Seven other Royal Caribbean ships will be sailing to the Caribbean during the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, on itineraries ranging from 3 to 9 nights, offering guests extraordinary partial views of the phenomenon to make for a memorable experience. The seven ships are Allure of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Empress of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas.

Seabourn Returns To America's Last Frontier
Seabourn will return to Alaska this summer for the first time in 15 years, officially kicking off today with an 11-day "Ultimate Alaskan" voyage departing from Vancouver. The world's finest ultra-luxury cruise line has curated an exceptional series of 11-, 12- and 14-day cruises on Seabourn Sojourn sailing out of Anchorage (Seward), Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia. The unique and captivating itineraries will combine the 49th state's most popular ports, rarely visited gems of the Inland Passage, and Ventures by Seabourn optional guided kayak and Zodiac tours led by the line's world-class and highly traveled expedition team.

With its small ships and award-winning onboard luxury rivaling any resort, Seabourn is the perfect way to explore America's Last Frontier. The intimate size and maneuverability of Seabourn Sojourn - which accommodates 458 guests, all in spacious suites - assures a privileged waterfront view that is virtually unmatched and where larger cruise ships cannot access.

"Like our guests, we've been counting down to this season. We're going to offer an Alaska experience with no compromises - an ultra-luxury hospitality environment combined with adventurous off-ship experiences," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "Our return to Alaska offers a unique opportunity for Seabourn to do what it does best: share the highlights of an extraordinary destination, from postcard-perfect mountains and glaciers, to picturesque frontier towns, to onshore experiences and guided tours today's luxury traveler seeks."

Seabourn's Alaska voyages include calls to rarely visited locations such as Alert Bay and Klemtu, a town of fewer than 500 people belonging to the Kitasoo Native Band and where guests will enjoy an exclusive cultural experience. Access towering forests along the Inland Passage and the sights and sounds of thunderous glaciers and the graceful breaching of humpback whales in the Kenai Fjords. Guests can explore cities and towns including the state capital of Juneau, colorful Ketchikan, and historical Sitka, whose Tlingit roots go back 10,000 years. Seabourn Sojourn will also offer four sailings to remote Glacier Bay National Park as part of its 11-day cruises. With no roads leading into the park, air and water are the only ways to explore Glacier Bay, one of the world's largest international protected areas and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In certain areas such as Misty Fjords and the hauntingly beautiful Tracy Arm, guests will be able to explore wildlife-rich waterways, forested mountain vistas and lacy waterfalls up close via Ventures by Seabourn, an innovative optional program of Zodiac and kayak excursions led by Seabourn Sojourn's expedition team of naturalists, science, wildlife and historical experts. The same expedition team will be on hand on deck, pointing out, interpreting and enhancing desirable locations.

In addition, each of the new 11-, 12- and 14-day cruises will include complimentary Seabourn all-weather jackets; inspiring Seabourn Conversations with special onboard guest speakers; opportunities for frequent wildlife sightings from the ship and shore; and a "Caviar on the Ice" deck party and other special deck events.

Seabourn Sojourn's season in Alaska launches with the 11-day Ultimate Alaskan Sojourn, departing from Vancouver, B.C., on Jun. 1, 2017.

Financial News
On April 7, 2017, Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) announced a quarterly cash dividend of $0.40 (U.S.) per share. The dividend is payable on June 16, 2017, to shareholders of record on May 26, 2017.

Holders of Carnival Corporation common stock or Carnival plc ADSs will receive a dividend payable in U.S. dollars. The dividend for Carnival plc ordinary shares will be payable in sterling unless shareholders elected to receive the dividend in U.S. dollars by May 26, 2017.

Dividends payable in sterling will be converted from U.S. dollars at the exchange rate quoted by the Bank of England in London at 12 noon on June 1, 2017 (US$1 = 77.80890 pence). Accordingly, the dividend payable in sterling on June 16, 2017, will be 31.12356 pence per share.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.06 + 2.68%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 112.06 + 0.88%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.38 + 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 50.31 - 1.04%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which famous former liner served as James Bond's headquarters in the film "The Man with the Golden Gun"?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Name the former Holland America liner that along with QE2 ended up being one of last two passenger ships to cross the Atlantic on a regular basis. What was her name when she was retired in 1988 and whom did she sail for?

Answer - The former Atlantic liner that sailed with QE2 was the Stefan Batory of Polish Ocean Lines. She was formerly Holland America's Maasdam.
courtesy of Michael Ohalloran


Cruise News - May 29, 2017

Norwegian Bliss' Keel Laying Ceremony Held At Meyer Werft in Germany
Norwegian Cruise Line and MEYER WERFT today celebrated the keel laying of Norwegian Bliss at the yard’s state of the art facility in Papenburg, Germany. During the ceremony, one of the keel blocks of the 167,800 gross ton vessel was lifted into the covered building hall, signifying a major milestone in the ship’s construction. Norwegian Bliss is due for delivery in April 2018 and will be the first cruise ship custom built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience.

Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief executive officer, was present in the hall and laid the traditional “lucky coin”, etched with the outline of the ship’s signature hull designed by wildlife artist Wyland, before the block was lowered into place.

“We are overjoyed to celebrate the keel laying of Norwegian Bliss, our sixteenth ship and sure to be our most innovative ship to date,” Stuart said. “We have seen overwhelming anticipation and excitement from our guests and travel partners for Norwegian Bliss, from her awe-inspiring custom-designed spaces like her observation lounges to her elegant suites in The Haven by Norwegian, and we are all thrilled to see this magnificent ship begin to come to life with the craftsmanship, precision and cutting edge technology that MEYER WERFT consistently delivers.”

The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss will accommodate 4,000 guests and will be the 12th ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet to be built by MEYER WERFT.

“We are very happy to celebrate the start of the block assembly for another newbuild with Norwegian Cruise Line. This ship will be another milestone in our collaboration to create the most efficient and innovative cruise ships,” said Tim Meyer, Managing Director of MEYER WERFT.

During her inaugural summer 2018 season, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from the recently expanded Pier 66 Cruise Terminal in Seattle, offering guests the premier way to see America’s last frontier, while also providing all of the innovative features, entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising. Norwegian Bliss will sail her inaugural Winter season beginning in November 2018, sailing seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from PortMiami, featuring calls in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.

Norwegian Bliss’ curated design will offer guests the freedom and flexibility to “Imagine Bliss” and create their ideal experience at sea, with a wide variety of accommodations including luxurious suites in The Haven by Norwegian, Studio staterooms for solo travelers with virtual ocean views, and new connecting staterooms ideal for large groups and families traveling together. Norwegian Bliss will also feature two observation lounges, including one exclusive to guests of The Haven, perfect for whale watching in Alaska or taking in sunsets in the Caribbean.

Norwegian Cruise Line will take its award-winning entertainment programming to the next level aboard Norwegian Bliss, bringing the best of Broadway to sea, with the 2006 Tony Award winner for “Best Musical,” Jersey Boys, and a completely new and original show created by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, headlining on the ship’s main stage, the Bliss Theater. Norwegian Bliss will also feature a new theatrical cocktail hour experience, Happy Hour Prohibition-The Musical. Alibi, the ship’s reimagined comedy club and nightlife venue will feature two comedy performances six nights a week. Rock and roll will take center stage at The Cavern Club, an outpost of the legendary Liverpool club where the Beatles’ performed frequently in the 1960s, with nightly live performances and a Beatles cover band singing hits like “Penny Lane,” “Yellow Submarine,” and more.

Continuing its tradition of featuring original artwork on its ships’ hulls, Norwegian Cruise Line has commissioned Wyland, one of the world’s premier marine life artists, to design the hull art for Norwegian Bliss; the artwork will feature images of humpback whales, found in every ocean around the world. The ship’s hull will serve as a large canvas to showcase the importance of ocean conservation and preservation.

Carnival Horizon to Feature New Aft-View Extended Balcony Family Harbor Staterooms, Additional Havana Cabins
Carnival Horizon will introduce a new stateroom category for the line – aft-view extended balcony cabins located within the exclusive Family Harbor area. Additionally, the 133,500-ton vessel will offer an additional 18 tropics-inspired staterooms within the popular Havana section.

Like the other 86 staterooms within Family Harbor, the new aft-view extended balcony cabins will feature a colorful nautical theme and will be located adjacent to the Family Harbor Lounge, designed as the ultimate family hangout with large screen TVs and complimentary breakfast and snacks.

Located aft on Deck 6, 8 and 9, the new Havana staterooms will feature vibrant interiors reminiscent of the Cuban capital and will offer exclusive access to the Havana area which includes its own Cuban-themed bar and pool.

The new accommodations are reflected in Carnival Horizon’s deck plans which can be viewed at https://www.carnival.com/cruise-ships/carnival-horizon.aspx.

Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from this port. The ship will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Following a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018.

Well-Kept Secret: Take a Cruise to Enjoy World's Best Beaches
Let's face it. Everyone deserves a day at the beach, preferably in a tropical place where you can dip your toes in soft sand and clear waters. And now here's a well-kept secret:

With itineraries in places such as the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico, Bermuda, Hawaii, the Mediterranean, South America and the South Pacific, cruise ships make it easy to get to some of the best beaches in the world.

Cruise ships sail to some of the world’s best beaches in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Mexico, Hawaii, Mediterranean, South America and South Pacific – including this Caribbean beach in Antigua. Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises Cruise ship captains and other officers, when they get some time off, are likely to head to the sand and surf. They have their favorite beaches.

Steve Howarth, captain of Oriana from British line P&O Cruises, smiles with fond family memories when he thinks of Cane Garden Bay Beach in Tortola. "There is soft white sand, warm seas, palm trees for shade, and it's where my son built his first-ever sand castle when he was a year old," Howarth says. The beach is about five miles from the port in Road Town.

On the other side of the world, Bas van Dreumel, captain of Holland America Line's Maasdam, has a soft spot for Cottesloe Beach in the port city of Fremantle, near his hometown of Perth, Australia. "Cottesloe is one of the nicest white beaches for our crew and guests for some R & R," van Dreumel says. "Plus you can purchase fish & chips and enjoy the uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean."

For Pierre Camilleri, hotel director on Carnival Cruise Line's newest ship, Carnival Vista, a goal is finding a great place to swim. Trunk Bay on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, is his favorite swimming spot in the world.

"The gorgeous clear waters, soft white sand that feels like powder and swaying palm trees along the shore create a striking, peaceful natural spot," Camilleri says. "This bay revives my body and soul with its tranquility and beauty." Trunk Bay is easily accessible on a shore excursion from the popular Caribbean port of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.

Nearby, when he gets a few free hours you'll find Renato Bendinelli, captain of another Carnival Cruise Line ship, the Carnival Fascination, making a beeline to famous Orient Bay Beach from the Caribbean port of Philipsburg on St. Maarten.

"It's a world-famous, sought-after spot where beach chairs are plentiful, the ocean is bright blue and the sand is soft and powdery. Plus, you can head downtown for French food," Bendinelli says. He also enjoys Maho Beach close to the island's airport, which brings the thrill of watching jumbo planes fly only a few hundred feet overhead.

"Some of the most beautiful beaches I have visited are on the Isle de Pines in New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific," says Kevin Boag, hotel director on P&O Cruises Australia's Pacific Eden. "It's a place I'm sure our guests will remember for a long time."

From the tender pier you can head left for a gentle stroll to the stunning white sand beach of Kuto Bay or right to the beach at Kanumera Bay, a family friendly patch with amazing areas to snorkel and pine trees for shade, Boag advises.

Rio de Janeiro's famous Ipanema beach gets high marks on the people-watching spectrum from officers on South America cruises on brands such as Italian line Costa Cruises, ultra-luxury line Seabourn, German line AIDA Cruises and the ocean liners of Cunard. If you can distract yourself from the buff bodies and skimpy bikinis on display on the two-mile stretch of golden sand, there are impressive views of the towering Two Brothers peaks.

On Australia and New Zealand itineraries, John Scott, captain of Holland America Line's Eurodam, recommends a beach break in New Zealand's Bay of Plenty.

From the port of Tauranga on North Island, Maunganui Beach is about a 20-minute walk from the dock and has sun, sand and surf – plus the bonus of great ice cream.

"At the northern end is the stunning Mount Maunganui and behind the beach don't miss a stop at Rush Munro, New Zealand's oldest ice cream maker," Scott says.

Champagne Bay in the remote island nation of Vanuatu has long been voted the best beach in the South Pacific and is a favorite of Michael Mihajlov, destination director for Carnival Australia. "This perfectly undisturbed white sand beach lies within an undeveloped, perfectly natural bay," Mihajlov says. "It's beach nirvana."

Darren Bowland, captain of Holland America Line's ms Koningsdam, says it's no surprise that guests give high marks to the line's private island, Half Moon Cay. "It's fantastic, with a lovely white-sand beach, clear turquoise waters and no outside interruptions. I always hear from guests that this is the perfect, quintessential Caribbean island experience. You know what? It really is."

On Mexican Rivera cruises, isolated Lover's Beach near Cabo San Lucas and the tiny beach haven of Yelapa Beach near Puerto Vallarta are favorites of the Princess Cruises destination team. Recommended on Western Caribbean itineraries is an excursion from Cozumel to Tulum. Plan some time to relax in the white sands and dip in the emerald sea of Tulum beach, below the unique sight of the cliff-top ruins of an ancient Mayan city.

"There are few places in the world that compare to Myrtos Beach on the little island of Kefalonia in the Ionian sea of Greece," says Paolo Viscafè, captain of the Costa Pacifica.

"When I saw this island for the first time I was fascinated by the view of the unspoiled and beautiful beach from the mountain above. The silence was as timeless as the ancient history of this place," Viscafè says. Captain's tip: For an unforgettable experience head to the terrace of a sea-view taverna to sample local products such as cheese and olives with a glass of Robola wine.

For those who like an active beach vacation you can't do better than Hawaii's Waikiki Beach, says Wesley Dunlop, captain of the Aurora from P&O Cruises.

"I was lucky enough to visit on the Aurora's recent World Cruise and the thing that I loved about it was the plethora of activities available there, everything from surfing, canoe paddling, snorkeling, scuba, jet skis, parasailing, kite surfing," Dunlop says. "You name it, it's available! Combine this with miles of golden sand, clear blue waters and some fantastic restaurants and in my mind that is hard to beat."

Captain Marco Carsjens, master of Holland America Line's Rotterdam, daydreams about the beautiful pink sands of Bermuda, including the famous, crescent-shaped Horseshoe Bay in Southampton Parish.

"You can catch amazing views from cliff-top trails above, and if you go exploring, there are small and secluded coves such as Port Royal Cove with its shallow water and interesting rock formations," Carsjens says, adding wistfully, "I wish I had more time at the beach."

Princess Debuts 2018-2019 Exotics Sailings
Princess Cruises has debuted its 2018-2019 Exotics program which will take guests to culturally rich and iconic cruise destinations around the globe. With more than 50 departures, ranging in length from three to 111 days, these worldwide cruise itineraries go on sale today.

The diverse deployment includes six ships sailing on 27 unique itineraries throughout five continents, visiting 93 destinations and 47 countries. Guests can book cruises to South America, Southeast Asia and China. In addition, cruisers will experience less-traveled ports aboard the cruise line's small ship that will circumvent the globe on a 111-day World Cruise sailings roundtrip from Los Angeles or Ft. Lauderdale.

"Our Exotics program offers our guests the chance to travel to intriguing destinations all over the world, allowing our guests to experience different cultures in places they've dreamed of visiting," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "We're proud that these award-winning itineraries make us a destination leader in the cruise industry."

Exotics deployment highlight include:

• OCEAN Medallion-enabled Royal Princess sails her maiden voyage around Cape Horn on a 49-day South America Grand Adventure – the cruise line's largest ship ever to visit South America. Guests will experience the highly anticipated, wearable device powered by a first-of-its-kind interactive technology platform within the One Cruise Experience Access Network™. (O·C·E·A·N™), making possible a new level of personalization that delivers an enhanced guest experience not previously available in the global vacation industry.
• Coral Princess sails a new 60-day Circle North Pacific voyage roundtrip Los Angeles, calling to 22 destinations in 8 countries, including Asia, Alaska and Hawaii.
• Pacific Princess sails a new route on the 111-day World Cruise circumnavigating the Africa's Cape of Good Hope.
• Two new 14- and 15-day Grand Asia voyages on Sapphire Princess sailing out of Shanghai and Singapore, complement the previously announced 14-day Majestic Grand Asia voyages on Princess Cruises' newest ship, Majestic Princess.
• MORE ASHORE evening stays and overnights will be offered on select itineraries in 18 ports across 5 continents.

Guests will enjoy bucket-list destination to more than 20 UNESCO World Cruise Heritage Sites, including Glacier Bay National Park, Singapore Botanical Gardens, Komodo National Park, Great Barrier Reef, Robben Island in Cape Town and more.

Princess' 2018-2019 Exotics cruise program includes:

• Asia: Coral Princess, Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess
• Guests can choose from three ships, sailing 18 itineraries to 34 destinations, from four homeports with 31 departures, ranging from three to 60 days.

Coral Princess debuts an epic 60-day Circle North Pacific voyage (roundtrip Los Angeles) that includes Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Guam and Hawaii, as well as the best of Alaska, including Glacier Bay Scenic Cruising, Juneau, Icy Strait Point and our first call to Kodiak in nearly a decade. Nine ports feature MORE ASHORE evening stays in Juneau, Tokyo (Yokohama), Osaka, Seoul (Incheon), Beijing (Tianjin), Shanghai, Taipei (Keelung), Hong Kong and Honolulu. This voyage will also be offered as the following voyages: 28-day Circle North Pacific: Los Angeles to Shanghai 32-day Circle North Pacific: Shanghai to Los Angeles

Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess both return to homeport in Singapore together for a season of cruises ranging from three to 21 days, with stops in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

For the Christmas and New Year's Eve holidays, Diamond Princess sails a 10-day Southeast Asia and 11-day Malaysian Peninsula & Indonesia voyage, which can be combined for a 21-day vacation.

Additionally, Sapphire Princess sails a 15-day Grand Asia voyage, featuring an overnight in Hong Kong. For the 2019 Lunar New Year, Sapphire Princess will be sailing a seven-day Vietnam & Thailand voyage (roundtrip Singapore).

South America: Royal Princess and Emerald Princess
In South America, two ships sailing seven itineraries to 25 destinations from 4 homeports, with 15 departures ranging from 14 to 49 days are offered.

OCEAN Medallion-enabled Royal Princess sails her maiden voyage to South America on a 49-day South America Grand Adventure, sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles. In addition, Emerald Princess returns to South America, navigating around Cape Horn on five departures between Santiago (Valparaiso) and Buenos Aires.

Royal Princess and Emerald Princess both feature Peru, Chile and an overland to Machu Picchu on the 16-day Andes & South America cruises between Los Angeles and Santiago (Valparaiso), which can be combined with a 14-day Cape Horn cruise for a 30-day Andes & Cape Horn Grand Adventure.

Both ships also sail 19-day Brazilian Adventure cruises between Fort Lauderdale and Buenos Aires, which can be combined with the 14-day Cape Horn cruises for a 33-day Cape Horn & Brazil Grand Adventure.

World Cruise: Pacific Princess
Pacific Princess offers a 111-day World Cruise voyage roundtrip from Los Angeles or Ft. Lauderdale, with 41 destinations, in 27 countries on 5 continents, featuring a circumnavigation around the Cape of Good Hope with overnights in Cape Town and Singapore.

The cruise includes three maiden ports of call to Stewart Island (New Zealand), the remote island of St. Helena (U.K. territory) and Guadeloupe (Pointe-à-Pitre).

For a shorter world voyage, Pacific Princess offers the opportunity to sail a 96-day World Cruise embarking in Los Angeles and disembarking in Ft. Lauderdale. Princess Cruises also offers the opportunity to join the World Cruise for a portion of the journey including a 72-day South Pacific & Indian Ocean, 43-day Australia & Africa, 39-day Africa, South America & Panama Canal, 29-day Hawaii & South Pacific, 24-day Africa & South America and a choice of two 15-day Panama Canal Connoisseur voyages sailing between Los Angeles and Ft. Lauderdale.

Cruisetours
To further enhance the cruise vacation, Princess Cruises is pleased to offer two cruisetours for South America on Emerald Princess and Royal Princess.

During the Iguazú Falls Adventure cruisetour, guests visit Rio de Janeiro with a full-day sightseeing tour taking them to Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue. The tour continues into the jungle at the border of Brazil and Argentina to incredible Iguazú Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the Machu Picchu Explorer cruisetour, guests ascend into the Andes to magical Machu Picchu, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and visit the historic city of Cusco and the Sacred Valley with sightseeing to Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo and an authentic Pisac Market.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 63.36 + 2.11%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 111.08 + 3.61%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.38 + 0.42%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 50.84 + 0.65%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the former Holland America liner that along with QE2 ended up being one of last two passenger ships to cross the Atlantic on a regular basis. What was her name when she was retired in 1988 and whom did she sail for?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Holland America's Volendam and Veendam of 1971 both started life sailing under different names for a different cruise line. What were their original names and what line did they sail for?

Answer - The Veendam was formerly called the Argentina, and was purchased from Moore McCormack Line. The Volendam was formerly called the Brasil, and was also purchased from Moore McCormick Line. Our very first cruise was on the Veendam in 1974. We got the cheapest cabin on the ship along with several friends and had the time of our life - been cruising ever since.
courtesy of Frank Cicio


Cruise News - May 22, 2017

Majestic Princess Begins Epic Journey to China
Princess Cruises and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (Friendship Association) officially began Majestic Princess' journey from Rome to China which will feature a cultural exchange program themed "Telling the Chinese Story along the Silk Road Sea Route." During the 37-day voyage, performance groups including the Ansai Youth Waist Drum team and the Luochuan Youth Yangge Dance team, the China National Orchestra and the China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater will entertain and educate more than 6,500 guests from more than 40 countries.

Princess Cruises and the Friendship Association held a press briefing and luncheon aboard prior to the ship's departure. Madam Li Xiaolin, President of the Friendship Association, David Dingle, Chairman of Carnival UK, Roger Chen, Chairman of Carnival Asia and Malcolm Morini, of Rome's Civitavecchia cruise port, among other officials, attended the event. The Ansai Youth Waist Drum team and the Luochuan Youth Yangge Dance team presented an authentic Shannbei style performance during the sail-away ceremony to celebrate the start of Silk Road Sea Route voyage.

"The Friendship Association aims to enhance international cooperation and promote common development between China and other countries," said Madame Li. "We continually develop innovative ways to communicate the China story by utilizing more active and engaging programs to present China's diverse culture along the Sea Silk Road. Our efforts support the economic development of the 'Belt and Road' initiatives and boost the cultural communication between countries along the route."

"Our partnership with the Friendship Association and celebrating Chinese culture reinforces our brand promise to provide authentic international experiences to our guests and reflects our commitment to the China market," said Anthony Kaufman, executive vice president of international operations, Princess Cruises. "The Chinese market is important to us and we are honored that Majestic Princess, our newest cruise ship which has been tailored for the Chinese market, will become a key part of this cross-cultural people to people program between the East and West."

Majestic Princess will visit some important Silk Road ports in countries including Greece, United Arab Emirates, India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia before arriving in its first Chinese port of Xiamen. Majestic Princess will arrive in Xiamen on June 26 and begin her first home-port season in Shanghai on July 11.

In 2018, two 14-day Grand Asia voyages sailing between Shanghai and Singapore on the fleet's newest ship will be available to guests throughout the world on Majestic Princess. These sailings will visit Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand, including spending more time ashore on the late night call in Hong Kong. The first voyage departs Shanghai on February 25, 2018, with the second departing Singapore on March 11, 2018.

HAL to Sail to Cuba Aboard ms Veendam Beginning in December 2017
Holland America Line has received approval to begin sailing to Cuba from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, starting with the Dec. 22, 2017, 12-day holiday cruise aboard ms Veendam. Holland America Line becomes Carnival Corporation's third cruise line to be approved to sail to Cuba following the company's historic inaugural sailings to the island last year. Demand is expected to be high when Cuba cruises open for booking on May 26, 2017.

The addition of Veendam itineraries will help meet the growing demand for premium cruise experiences to Cuba. Nine seven-day itineraries will feature the capital city Havana, and three of these will add another Cuba call at Cienfuegos, known as the model of early 19th century urban planning in Cuba. The 12-day holiday cruise showcases both Cuban ports. Depending on the departure day, cruises include the Cuba ports, as well as a combination of Caribbean ports, including Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; Key West, Florida; and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

“For many, travel is about seeking new places to explore and discovering meaningful new cultural opportunities, and Cuba is one of the most sought-after new destinations for many of our guests,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We are excited to finally be able to include Cuba in our itineraries, and our guests and travel partners have been anxiously awaiting a premium cruise experience to this relatively undiscovered Caribbean treasure.”

As leaders in destination immersion and experiential travel, Holland America Line adds Cuba to its itineraries in order to provide guests with a thoughtful cultural exchange experience. Most itineraries include an extended call at Havana, allowing guests the time to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site and immerse themselves in a wide array of historical and cultural adventures. Additionally, a stop at Cienfuegos presents the opportunity for a special visit to Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cuba’s province of Sancti Spíritus.

The series of Cuban cruises will debut with the Dec. 22, 2017, 12-day holiday sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. In addition to the seven-day cruises, an 11-day spring cruise sails March 17, 2018, and also features the Cuban ports of Havana and Cienfuegos, as well as Key West, Cozumel, Montego Bay and Georgetown. The final seven-day Cuba sailing departs on April 18, 2018.

On board, the Cuba experience will be enhanced through the line’s Explorations Central, or EXC, program, featuring EXC Guides who will bring the destination to life through presentations and EXC Talks that will enable guests to deepen their understanding of the Caribbean’s largest island. Also enriching the Cuba experience for guests are EXC Port Maps created for the Cuban calls, EXC Encounters that will showcase the culture and history of Cuba to guests before they visit the ports, and much more. In addition, educational and cultural EXC Tours are being developed in and near Havana and Cienfuegos with a highlight being Trinidad, one of the best-preserved historic towns in the Caribbean.

New Crystal Adventures Heighten Arctic Exploration During Northwest Passage Voyage
When Crystal Serenity returns to the Arctic north on August 15 for the second transit of the Northwest Passage, she will navigate a route through territories of Alaska, Canada and Greenland that are rarely explored by recreational travelers, remaining the only luxury cruise line to make the intrepid trip. During Crystal's 2017 "Northwest Passage Explorer" voyage, guests will have more opportunities than ever to immerse themselves in the nuances of the local communities and breathtaking nature and terrain of the region. New Crystal Wilderness Adventures ashore have been added to the roster of more than 100 excursions available to travelers, including Crystal's exclusive "Boutique Adventures," which are not offered with any other cruise line. Among the new experiences are:

• Arctic scuba diving, beginning in Cambridge Bay and exploring the distinct underwater world and sea life that thrives in the icy waters at the top of the world.
• Three nights on the northernmost tip of Canada/Ellesmere/Greenland, during an exclusive Crystal Overland Adventure from Pond Inlet, Nunavut, Canada. Guests will venture on an extended visit to the community of Grise Fjord, and take in magnificent views of the waterways surrounding Canada and Greenland, as well as the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Chartered aircraft to the Hamlet of Gjoa Haven (Boutique Adventure), located on the southeast coast of King William Island at the heart of the Northwest Passage, an integral location of the expedition of John Ross (1829-1833) and near the point at which the Franklin Expedition met its fate in 1845. From Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada.
• Visit to Iglooplik (Boutique Adventure), located north of the Arctic Circle and home to a vibrant artistic community, considered to the cultural epicenter for the Inuit people. Crystal guests will be treated to a traditional performance by the Artcirq circus troupe, who performed during the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. From Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada.
• Fly fishing for Arctic Char on the Ekaluk River, where the favorite of the local people swims abundantly and grows to exceptionally large size. Guests will be transported to the ideal fishing spot along the river's bank by float plane from Cambridge Bay.

Dozens of additional adventures ashore and on water range from possible sightings of polar bears, whales and narwhal to trekking across glaciers and golfing – yes, golfing – on the open tundra of Canada's Northwest Territories. Throughout the cruise, additional crew, plus an expert expedition team, will be on hand for shore-side endeavors, while an escort ship will accompany Crystal Serenity the entire way, stocked with special "adventure equipment" including Zodiacs, kayaks and a helicopter.

"The extent of discovery possible in the Northwest Passage is virtually limitless, and we are thrilled to offer our guests more choices than ever to fully explore this astounding and fascinating region," says Edie Rodriguez, Crystal's CEO and president.

In addition to the Crystal Adventures listed on Crystal's website, the ship's captain will position the ship to take advantage of impromptu "Unexpected Adventures," including Zodiac landings on glaciers, kayaking in protected bays, helicopter departures off the deck of Ernest Shackleton for landings on remote and uninhabited areas with awe-inspiring views and trekking the tundra with an expert guide, favorable weather conditions permitting. Likewise, the expedition teams will be on the lookout for wildlife sightings along the journey, and will alert guests to visible polar bears, whales and other animals whenever possible.

Consistent with the extreme terrain and conditions found in the Arctic Circle and northernmost areas of the world, many Crystal Adventures on this voyage are recommended solely for physically capable travelers. In select destinations (Ulukhaktok, Cambridge Bay and Pond Inlet), simply accessing the port for a day at leisure requires a certain level of dexterity for "wet" landings, as the ports are only reachable by Zodiac and involve slippery conditions.

The 32-day Northwest Passage voyage sails from Seward to New York, calling in Kodiak, Dutch Harbor and Nome, Alaska; Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories; Cambridge Bay and Pond Inlet, Nunavut, Canada; Ilulissat, Sisimiut and Nuuk, Greenland; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; and Newport, Rhode Island. Notable passages include the Bering, Beaufort, Chukchi, and Labrador Seas, the fjords of Baffin Island, the Bellot, Victoria, Dolphin and Union Straits, Beechey Island/Radstock Bay, and Peel Sound.

Princess Cruises Announces 2018-2019 Americas Season
Princess Cruises has announced its 2018-2019 Americas cruise itineraries including sailings to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, Hawaii, the California Coast, and Alaska. On sale today, the upcoming season includes 12 ships, sailing to over 70 destinations on more than 40 unique itineraries on 250 departures from six North American homeports.

Four of the 12 ships - Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Caribbean Princess and Island Princess - will be OCEAN Medallion enabled for this fall 2018-spring 2019 season. Guests will experience the highly anticipated, wearable device powered by a first-of-its-kind interactive technology platform within the One Cruise Experience Access Network™ (O·C·E·A·N™), making possible a new level of personalization that delivers an enhanced guest experience not previously available in the global vacation industry.

Americas program highlights of the upcoming 2018-2019 season include:

• The debut of Royal Princess on the West Coast as the cruise line's largest ship ever to sail to Mexico.
• Two new seven-day Pacific Coast itineraries featuring 7-day roundtrip departures from Seattle along the California Coast and 7-day roundtrip San Francisco to British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest.
• Largest offering of 5-day Cabo San Lucas Getaways with nine all including overnight stays in the most popular port of Mexico.
• An expanded program of our Caribbean 7-day itineraries, now with departures on both Saturdays and Sundays.
• Returning season of three ways to see the Panama Canal – from the East Coast, from the West Coast or Ocean to Ocean.
• More sailings to Alaska roundtrip from Los Angeles with Ruby Princess and Star Princess both sailing on a 12-day itinerary in April 2019.
• MORE ASHORE evening stays will be offered on select itineraries in the Caribbean, California and Hawaii, including Aruba, Curacao, St. Thomas, Cozumel, San Francisco, San Diego, Long Beach and Honolulu - and overnight stays in Cabo San Lucas on the 5- and 10-day voyages from Los Angeles.
• UNESCO World Cruise Heritage Site opportunities offered, including the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park in St. Kitts, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from Hilo, Casco Viejo in Panama City and Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska.

"Our 2018-19 Americas season brings local cultures and iconic destinations to our guests with award-winning itinerary options from six homeports in the United States," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "And, once on board, they can relax and unwind and let our warm and welcoming crew ensure they have an incredible cruise vacation and 'come back new.'"

Mexico
There are five ships sailing four unique itineraries on over 35 departures to five destinations on five-, seven-, or 10-day voyages from Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Royal Princess debuts sailing from Los Angeles as the largest Princess ship to sail the Mexican Riviera on a series of seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises. The ever-popular Mexican Riviera voyages return, and are available as seven-day cruises from Los Angeles visiting the ports of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas, or as 10-day voyages from San Francisco with the added port of Manzanillo.

The 10-day Baja Peninsula & Sea of Cortez cruise returns on Star Princess, sailing from Los Angeles to the ports of La Paz, Loreto, Puerto Vallarta with an overnight stay in Cabo San Lucas.

Princess Cruises is offering more 5-day Cabo San Lucas Getaways than ever which include MORE ASHORE evening stays in Cabo San Lucas on Emerald Princess and Star Princess.

California Coast
This season offers eight ships, sailing 12 unique itineraries on over 25 departures to more than 10 destinations on voyages of one to 10 days from Seattle, Los Angeles, Vancouver, B.C. and San Francisco.

Royal Princess will sail for the first time along the California Coast from Los Angeles to Vancouver, B.C. on a seven-day Pacific California Coast visiting San Diego, Seattle and San Francisco for a MORE ASHORE evening and overnight.

Ruby Princess sails a brand new seven-day Northern California Coast voyage sailing roundtrip from Seattle with stops in Monterey, Astoria, and MORE ASHORE late evening stays in San Francisco and Victoria, B.C.

Also new for 2018 is a seven-day Pacific Northwest Coast cruise on Grand Princess sailing roundtrip from San Francisco visiting Astoria, Vancouver, B.C., Victoria, B.C. and a More Ashore late evening stay in Seattle.

The Classic California Coast sailings return with seven-day voyages roundtrip from Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as a 10-day voyage from Vancouver. Star Princess and Emerald Princess will also sail on select four-day West Coast Getaway voyages from Los Angeles including Santa Barbara or Catalina Island as well as Ensenada, Mexico.

MORE ASHORE longer evening stays are featured on every call to San Francisco on these Coastal itineraries.

Caribbean
With five ships sailing 12 unique itineraries on over 120 departures to more than 35 destinations on voyages of seven to 20 days from Ft. Lauderdale and New York, guests can enjoy the best of the Caribbean with Princess Cruises.

The newly renovated Caribbean Princess sails 14-day Circle Caribbean voyages cruising roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, including visits to Martinique, Barbados, Trinidad, Aruba, Curacao, Antigua, St. Thomas, Amber Cove and St. Kitts. Guests can choose a special sailing spanning both Christmas and New Year's Day.

Small ship Pacific Princess sails a holiday 14-day Caribbean Connoisseur voyage, visiting islands not typically included on other Caribbean itineraries, for an off-the-beaten path exploration including St. Barthelemy, Iles Des Saintes (maiden call), Grenadines, Tobago, and Virgin Gorda.

Crown Princess returns to the popular 10-day Southern Caribbean Medley and 10-day Eastern Caribbean Voyager which can be combined for a 20-day vacation. Seven-day Eastern Caribbean voyages will be offered on Regal Princess, Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess with the choice of Saturday and Sunday departures. Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess will also offer a new 7-day Caribbean Explorer itinerary on select dates visiting San Juan, Amber Cove, Grand Turk and a stop at our private beach resort Princess Cays.

Regal Princess, Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess will all offer seven-day Western Caribbean voyages departing on Saturday or Sunday all visiting Grand Cayman and Cozumel, with two itinerary options including Roatan and Belize City or Jamaica (Falmouth) and Princess Cays.

Ports of calls with MORE ASHORE evening calls include Barbados, St Thomas, Aruba, St. Maarten and Curacao.

Panama Canal
There are four ships sailing seven unique itineraries on more than 35 departures to over 30 destinations on voyages of 10 to 22 days from Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver – offering three ways to see the region – roundtrip from the East Coast, roundtrip from the West Coast, or Ocean to Ocean.

Caribbean Princess and Island Princess both offer a transit through the locks and a day of scenic cruising through Gatun Lake from the Atlantic Ocean roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale on 10-day Panama Canal with Costa Rica & Caribbean voyages. Caribbean Princess will sail via the expanded Agua Clara locks while Island Princess transits the historic Gatun locks.

Coral Princess, Island Princess and Pacific Princess all sail 15-day Panama Canal - Ocean to Ocean cruises with a full transit through all three sets of the historic locks – Gatun, Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks.

Coral Princess sails roundtrip from Los Angeles for transits through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks for a 19-day Panama Canal Pacific Adventure.

Hawaiian Islands and Tahiti
Guests have a choice of four ships, sailing four unique itineraries on over 20 departures to 10 destinations on voyages of 15 or 28 days from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver.

Every 15-day Hawaiian Islands departure includes the four most popular islands - Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the big island of Hawaii, with roundtrip departures from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver. Every voyage features a MORE ASHORE evening stay in Honolulu.

Emerald Princess and Star Princess will sail on two 28-day departures to Hawaii, Tahiti & Samoa in fall and spring roundtrip from Los Angeles. Both departures feature MORE ASHORE in Honolulu and Tahiti (Papeete).

Alaska - 12-day Alaska Inside Passage – Roundtrip Los Angeles Returning due to popular demand, Ruby Princess and Star Princess will sail on 12-day Inside Passage Alaska sailings roundtrip from Los Angeles in April 2019. Port calls include Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria, B.C. with scenic cruising of Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Holland America Line's 2017-18 Mexico Cruise Season to Feature a Second Vista-Class Ship
For the 2017-18 Mexico cruise season, Holland America Line's ms Oosterdam is joining ms Westerdam on roundtrip itineraries from San Diego, California. From September 2017 through February 2018, the 1,964-guest ships will sail 11 seven-day cruises calling at Mazatlán, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Boasting sun-kissed skies, golden beaches and azure seas, the Mexican Riviera is an ideal getaway for travelers looking to visit a vibrant destination that's rich in culture, color and cuisine. On board, Explorations Central programming brings the country to life through local entertainment, regional dishes, destination presentations and more.

"Holland America Line's last season in Mexico was very popular so we are adding capacity for the next season so that more of our guests can enjoy these itineraries that truly showcase the allure of the destination," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "Our Mexico cruises offer convenience and ease, especially for a multigenerational family looking for a unique vacation. By calling at three ports, we're able to fully immerse our guests in the culture, history, entertainment, recreation and cuisine of the country."

Seven-Day Mexican Riviera Sailings Roundtrip from San Diego
During the Mexican Riviera cruises both ships will call at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta, giving guests a great feel for the country and all it has to offer. Three days at sea provide plenty of time to relax and explore the abundance of amenities offered on board.

To kick off the season, Oosterdam departs on Sept. 30 with two back-to-back seven-day sailings. Westerdam departs Nov. 24, 2017, on the first of two seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises. The ship's other cruise departs Dec. 1. Oosterdam follows up with two similar Holiday sailings Dec. 20 and 27 and then departs on the same Mexican Riviera itinerary Jan. 3 and 10 and Feb. 4, 11 and 25.

Popular Ports Highlight the Itinerary
During the sail into San Diego, guests are treated to scenic cruising past Coronado Island, Cabrillo National Monument and Point Loma. The ships conveniently dock near downtown, so guests can walk on Coronado Island's sandy beach, take in the Old Town or have a wild time at the famous San Diego Zoo, time permitting.

At the tip of the Baja Peninsula, Cabo San Lucas is one of Mexico's most recognizable ports of call thanks to its unique rock arch formation. Whether lounging on a golden beach, exploring on a four-wheel-drive adventure or taking to the sea in search of gray whales, guests will find Cabo offers something for every type of traveler.

Mazatlán, known as the "Pearl of the Pacific," is where the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean meet, making it an alluring coastal city. It's a haven for water sports, historic sites and nature, as well as incredible sport-fishing.

Puerto Vallarta has it all — from gorgeous beaches and activities galore to chic shops and stylish restaurants. The quaint Old Town greets visitors with an enticing mix of red-tiled buildings, cobbled streets and bustling open markets, while eco-adventures show off Mexico's flora and fauna in this paradise on Earth.

Explorations Central Brings Mexican Culture On Board
Throughout the voyages, EXC programming brings Mexico's local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life onboard. Through EXC Encounters, local cultural ambassadors teach local crafts, language and dance lessons throughout the voyage and a mariachi band performs for guests at one of the ports of call. Guests who want to learn more about the country can attend an EXC Talk by an EXC Guide or head to America's Test Kitchen for a cooking demonstration, cooking class or themed mixology class featuring local fare.

The main dining room and Lido Market also will showcase the flavors of Mexico, while bars will offer a variety of Mexican liquors and ingredients. The ships' ambiance will be enhanced by Mexican floral varieties, and guests will be delighted in their staterooms with Mexican towel creations.

The EXC Team will provide further customized guidance for the Mexican calls, and online EXC Port Planners using tips and information from AFAR Media provide exclusive handbooks for each destination. For guests who enjoy exploring on their own, on-line and printable EXC Maps present a simple view of the best each port has to offer. The in-stateroom EXC Channel will feature a selection of curated films, documentaries and TV shows exploring destinations on the ship's itinerary.

Carnival To Host Record 25,000 Shows At Fleetwide Punchliner Comedy Clubs In 2017
Carnival Cruise Line will provide its guests with more laughs than ever in 2017, hosting a record 25,000 shows at its Punchliner Comedy Clubs featured across its 25-ship fleet.

Boasting more comedians and performances than any land-based comedy club in the U.S., Carnival's Punchliner Comedy Clubs feature a hilarious lineup of top-notch comedians who perform 30-minute shows multiple times each voyage with at least two comedians performing each night. All shows are offered on a complimentary basis.

Two early-evening PG-rated shows offer all-ages fun for the whole family while later performances feature more R-rated, adult-oriented comedy. Approximately 10 shows are presented during short cruise itineraries and with roughly 20 shows per cruise on longer length voyages.

"Our guests love to laugh and have fun and the Punchliner Comedy Club is by far one of the most popular venues on board with both established and up-and-coming comedians who keep audiences laughing and entertained," said Sarah Reno, Carnival's vice president of entertainment. "Plus, many guests have never been to a comedy club so this is a wonderful way for them to try something different and check out an entirely new form of entertainment," she added.

Added Chris Nelson, Carnival's senior director of entertainment, "We search the world for the top comedians and fly them onto each cruise for limited engagements. Not only is Carnival one of the largest presenters of comedy in the world, we are the only cruise line to provide an authentic comedy club experience on every single voyage."

Carnival's position as the leader in comedy has also extended to its popular Carnival LIVE concert series which has added top-name comedians to its diverse entertainment lineup. Recent comedy performances include Jay Leno, Jim Gaffigan, Chris Tucker and Kathy Griffin. Jeff Foxworthy will also be performing two shows next month aboard Carnival Freedom and Carnival Ecstasy while those ships are docked in Nassau.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 62.05 + 1.87%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 107.21 - 0.84%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.37 + 0.42%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 50.51 - 1.92%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Holland America's Volendam and Veendam of 1971 both started life sailing under different names for a different cruise line. What were their original names and what line did they sail for?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which Red Star Line ship became one of the most popular cruise liners of the 1920's. She was also one of the first liners to sail on world cruises on a regular basis?

Answer - he Red Star Line Belgenland was one of the first ships to go on regular world cruises and was the biggest ship ever owned by Red Star Line.
courtesy of Paulo Mestre


Cruise News - May 15, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line Makes Inaugural Call To Havana, Cuba
Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Cruise Line’s first ship to sail to Cuba, made her maiden call in the capital city of Havana last week. Norwegian Cruise Line executives were on board to celebrate the voyage, including Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings President & CEO Frank Del Rio and Norwegian Cruise Line President & CEO Andy Stuart.

“Today is a momentous day for Norwegian Cruise Line, our guests and our travel agent partners, as we open our doors to Cuba’s natural beauty, warm people and historical treasures,” said Frank Del Rio. “Sailing into the Havana Harbor today, we were welcomed by the Cuban people with open arms and excitement to share their incredible culture with our guests.”

“Our cruises to Cuba offer our guests a unique opportunity to engage in true cultural immersion with the freedom and flexibility to explore this destination on their own timetable and as they choose,” said Andy Stuart. “We look forward to our guests experiencing the wonderful hospitality of the Cuban people aboard each of our many sailings to Cuba to come.”

Yesterday’s call was the first of Norwegian Sky’s weekly roundtrip cruises from Miami to Cuba. The ship will sail a total of 53 four-day voyages to Cuba, with 52 including an overnight stay in the historical and culturally-rich capital of Havana. Norwegian Sky will bring guests to the very heart of Havana, offering guests the opportunity to visit historical sites such as Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; view incredible art and listen to the vibrant local music scene; and visit with Cuba’s warm and friendly residents through people-to-people exchanges. Norwegian offers a selection of 14 half and full-day OFAC-compliant shore excursions, where guests aboard Norwegian Sky will have the opportunity to have a farm to table dining experience, explore the flora and fauna of Soroa, see modern Havana in an American classic car and much more.

The Norwegian Sky will also call on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas, during her four-day cruises to Cuba. Great Stirrup Cay is a private island paradise, with white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, water sports galore and lushly landscaped beachside cabanas available for daily rental for those who wish to have a more exclusive island experience. Great Stirrup Cay was recently enhanced to offer guests exciting new ways to enjoy the island with additional pathways, seating and shaded lounge areas, with additional features still to come, including a private luxury lagoon enclave for suite guests and guests of The Haven.

Along with the freedom and flexibility that only Norwegian Cruise Line can provide, guests sailing on Norwegian Sky will also enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages as a part of Norwegian’s Premium All Inclusive programme.

Carnival Horizon Construction Moving Along as Scheduled at Italy’s Fincantieri Shipyard
Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, is pictured here at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, where it is being constructed in anticipation of its spring 2018 debut.

The 3,934-passenger vessel — the 26th ship in Carnival’s fleet – will offer many of the innovative indoor and outdoor dining, bar, entertainment and activity options that debuted on Carnival Vista, along with a brand new first-of-its-kind Dr. Seuss-themed WaterWorks aqua park.

Carnival Horizon will also offer a fun bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide and an IMAX Theatre. A variety of cabin categories, including spa cabins with exclusive privileges at the Cloud 9 Spa, extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, and tropical-inspired Havana staterooms and suites with exclusive daytime access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool, will be offered as well.

Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from this port. Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Following its summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018.

Royal Caribbean Introduces More Options to the Caribbean from New Orleans, Galveston and Miami
After a three-year hiatus, Royal Caribbean International will return to the legendary city of New Orleans, Louisiana with the newly announced repositioning of Vision of the Seas for the 2018-2019 winter season. The 915-foot cruise ship will sail 7-night itineraries to culture-rich destinations across the Bahamas and Yucatan Peninsula. Her 989-foot sister ship Enchantment of the Seas will move from Miami, Florida to join Liberty of the Seas in Galveston, Texas, offering 4- and 5-night Caribbean cruises that will complement Liberty’s popular 7-night Caribbean vacations. The two new offerings bring more options and easy access from the Gulf Coast for adventure-seekers in the region to embark on journeys to world-renowned dive destinations, explore ancient ruins of past civilizations, and discover the natural beauty of rainforests.

Before repositioning to its new home in “The Big Easy” on Dec. 15, 2018, Vision of the Seas will offer two, 16-night sailings through the Panama Canal from Miami to Los Angeles, California and from Los Angeles to New Orleans. This will be the first time in three years that Royal Caribbean will journey through this engineering marvel.

Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas also will embark on new adventures in 2018 when the longtime resident of Asia-Pacific returns to the United States to homeport in Miami. Mariner will be the first Voyager-class ship – famous for introducing industry innovations including the rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink and Royal Promenade – to offer short Caribbean sailings perfect for first-time cruise travelers. The 3- and 4-night itineraries from PortMiami to the Bahamas begin on June 21, 2018, following the ship’s extensive, 32-day revitalization. Prior to going into drydock and her arrival to Miami, Mariner will embark on a previously announced “Global Odyssey,” consisting of three 13- to 15-night sailings from Singapore to Dubai; Dubai to Barcelona; and Barcelona to Miami.

Enchantment of the Seas arrives to Galveston on June 23, 2018. Guests currently booked on Enchantment for sailings departing Miami after June 23 will be contacted individually to transition the original booking to the freshly revitalized Mariner of the Seas from her new homeport in Miami.

Disney Cruise Line Sails to Bermuda for the First Time and Visits New Ports Including Quebec City in Fall 2018
In fall 2018, Disney Cruise Line will sail on new itineraries and to new ports, including first-time visits to Bermuda and Quebec City, Canada – both with multiple days to experience these captivating destinations. In addition to the new itineraries from New York to Bermuda and Canada, three special sailings from New York will take guests to Walt Disney World and Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. Sailings from California, Texas and Florida round out the 2018 fall season.

New sailings to Bermuda from New York

For the first time, Disney Cruise Line guests can sail to the beautiful island of Bermuda. Each of the five-night sailings includes two full days in Bermuda, while one special six-night sailing includes three days there.

An idyllic setting for outdoor enjoyment, Bermuda offers its famous pink sand beaches, lush forests and a range of water activities. Shopping and sightseeing are plentiful and, at only 21 square miles, the island is easy to navigate and explore. With its own distinctive blend of British and Caribbean culture, Bermuda boasts a rich history in sailing, a passion for cricket and a truly unique national attire – Bermuda shorts.

Disney Magic cruises to Bermuda from New York set sail in October 2018.

New cruises between New York and Quebec City, Canada

Quebec City, Canada, a new port for Disney Cruise Line, will be featured on two new itineraries sailing between New York and Quebec City. Both of these sailings include two full days in Quebec City as well as stops at other Canadian ports new to Disney Cruise Line – Saguenay and Baie-Comeau.

With towering fortresses, lavish castles, cobblestone streets and French-inspired cuisine, Quebec City offers a taste of European charm. Must-see sights include the historic and grand Chateau Frontenac hotel and the impressive Montmorency Falls, which measure 30 meters taller than Niagara Falls. Both Saguenay and Baie-Comeau offer natural beauty, picturesque ports and local cuisine featuring plentiful seafood, wild game and the indigenous and delectable cloudberries.

Two seven-night Disney Magic cruises between New York and Quebec City depart in September 2018.

More magic from New York on sailings to Walt Disney World and Castaway Cay

Fall 2018 Disney Magic sailings from New York also include three seven-night voyages to Walt Disney World. Each cruise includes a stop in Port Canaveral, Florida, located near the Walt Disney World Resort, and a day at Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Adding to the magic on these special sailings, every guest will receive a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and round-trip transportation between the ship and the theme parks. During their visit, guests can enjoy experiences like the new Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom, which will immerse guests in a mystical world of massive floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and breathtaking new experiences.

Back by Popular Demand: Cruises from California, Texas and Florida

• In September and October 2018, the Disney Wonder will sail from San Diego, California, to Baja and the Mexican Riviera. Baja sailings visit Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico, both famous for stunning beaches and exciting water activities. Mexican Riviera sailings feature the snorkeling and scuba diving hot spots Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas.
• In November and December 2018, the Disney Wonder returns to Galveston, Texas, with a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian itineraries. All cruises to the Bahamas include a stop at Castaway Cay.
• In December 2018, the Disney Magic will return to Miami with voyages to the Western Caribbean and Bahamas, including stops at Key West and Castaway Cay.
• During late 2018, the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream will continue to sail a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida, with every sailing including a day at Castaway Cay.

MSC Cruises Offers Tailored Tips And Travel Experiences For Every Guest
The demand for cruising has increased 62 percent from 2005 to 2015 and nearly half (48%) of non-cruisers expressed interest in taking an ocean cruise. Looking ahead to the busy summer travel season, MSC Cruises USA — the North American arm of MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world's largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa — has curated some helpful tips and experiences to help every type of traveler make the best of their summer vacation.

Tip: People often have very different ideas of what makes a great vacation. Cruising makes it easier to choose a family vacation by offering activities and amenities that appeal to everyone in your group —from the little kids to the grandparents — so everyone gets to enjoy their own, personalized experience. Do your research on family friendly activities the cruise line offers ahead of time so you have an idea of what to expect. Once on board, don't forget to check the daily program highlights.

Experience on MSC Cruises: Kids sail free[2] on MSC Cruises making traveling as a family extremely affordable. In addition, fleet wide, the cruise line offers dedicated activities for kids of all ages – from infants to teens. Highlights include: cooking classes, where kids are taught basic cooking skills; language courses, where children learn basic sentences in 6 different languages; themed costume parades and shows; sports tournaments; scavenger hunts; arts and crafts; and teen disco and karaoke parties. In addition, MSC Cruises offers a unique LEGO Experience Day in which kids and their parents can compete in LEGO themed competitions and games where kids earn their LEGO Junior Master Builder Diploma. While the kids are off having fun with their new friends, adults can enjoy a relaxing treatment in the MSC Aurea Spa, catch one of the cruise lines award-winning Broadway style production shows, try their luck in the on-board casino, or dine in one of the many restaurants and bars.

THE ADVENTURER

Tip: If exploring or mingling with the locals is your thing, make sure to research and plan excursions ahead of time to maximize new cultural opportunities – and so you don't miss out.

Experience on MSC Cruises: Excursions vary from port to port, but each tour is provided by certified partners with carefully selected, multilingual guides. From culinary tours of Italy, to experiencing the magnificent Tulum Mayan Ruins in Cozumel, walking tours of Split, Croatia, jeep adventures in Iceland, and exploring the interiors of the mosques in Abu Dhabi – MSC Cruises offers up to 2,000 shore excursions that have been specially created to satisfy every need and giving you the freedom to make the most of every moment ashore.

THE FIRST-TIMER

Tip: Make the most of your time at sea! Cruise ships are essentially floating cities – they are considered destinations in themselves. Guests should take the time to utilize and explore the various amenities and numerous choices of activities available to them on-board.

Experience on MSC Cruises: MSC Cruises offers unique, unexpected experiences on every voyage. On MSC Divina, guests can try out the Virtual Winery at Sea, a unique BlendCraft wine experience with professional winemakers where participants learn how wines are mixed and then are able to create, bottle and label their own blend of wine to enjoy on board, or take home! MSC Cruises also features 4D motion theaters, AquaCycling, Formula One race car simulators, state-of-the-art fitness facilities featuring Technogym equipment, bowling alleys, and most exclusively, Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows debuting this summer on MSC Meraviglia.

THE FOODIE

Tip: Cruises offer a multitude of both casual and fine dining options while on board, so it's important for food lovers to take advantage of as many as possible. Pre-purchase a dining package to venture out of your foodie comfort zone and try new cuisines at the best prices – your wallet and your taste buds will thank you for it.

Experience on MSC Cruises: Specialty restaurants are a standout feature on MSC Cruises' ships, offering guests the opportunity to experience quality cuisines from around the world, even while at sea. On MSC Meraviglia, debuting in June in the Mediterranean, these exquisite dining experiences range from the freshest sushi, sashimi and tempura created by expert sushi chefs at Kaito Sushi Bar, an open chocolate atelier and sweet treats from award-winning French chocolatier and pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury, and delectable Italian dishes at Eataly's Ristorante Italiano. The elevated dining experience will also be found on MSC Seaside, debuting this December in Miami, where guests can enjoy a variety of savory pan-Asian fare at the Asian Market Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi and American-style fish dishes with a Mediterranean twist served at the signature seafood restaurant Ocean Cay.

THE SMART SPENDER

Tip: When booking, make sure you cruise for "deals!" If you book your trip far enough in advance, you could end up saving hundreds of dollars. Also, make sure to do your research and take advantage of package offerings that provide a great value.

Experience on MSC Cruises: With MSC Cruises' unique "Inclusive Experiences" pricing, guests can select from five different vacation packages that range from best price to nearly all inclusive, based on their own personal vacation desires. By bundling various services and activities into a package, consumers get an excellent value for price and are able to pay for all the amenities they want upfront – a highly recommended option for travelers looking to save money and stick to a budget.

THE WELLNESS GURU

Tip: Don't let a vacation trip up your healthy lifestyle – keep it going and utilize the available health and wellness amenities. Select healthy options such as the salad bar in the buffet, choose an active shore excursion such as hiking or horseback riding, or choose the stairs over the elevator. Your body will thank you for it.

Experience on MSC Cruises: Fleet wide, MSC Cruises offers a one of a kind Wellness Experience by Technogym – the first completely personalized 360° wellness experience at sea that incorporates wellness into every aspect of the cruise experience including: on-board fitness classes and activities, dedicated healthy food and beverage offerings, exclusive shore excursions, and stateroom amenities. The experience starts before the cruise even begins with a pre-cruise questionnaire designed to understand each guest's specific goals. Once on board, the guest then meets with a MSC Master Trainer, trained by Technogym, who reviews the results of the questionnaire and helps them create a personalized wellness plan for the duration of the cruise shaped around the individual needs of the guest. As part of the experience, the self-service buffet on board includes a dedicated wellness corner and menus in the main restaurants include special icons to help guide guests' food selection.

MSC Cruises is also the first cruise line in the world to offer AquaCycling classes to its passengers on board MSC Divina. Designed for all ages, AquaCycling is a full body workout allowing participants to burn up to 800 calories per hour! For MSC Cruises' guests, it's truly a unique experience, allowing them to cycle under water to upbeat music, while enjoying an amazing view at sea, and most importantly, having fun!

THE LUXURY LOVER

Tip: No vacation shaming allowed. You earned it. Indulge.

Experience on MSC Cruises: Guests looking for a more upscale, luxurious experience can opt stay in the MSC Yacht Club, which includes 24-hour butler service, concierge reception, dedicated MSC Yacht Club fine dining venues, a private pool, and a private elevator to take guests directly to the MSC Aurea Spa. With an innovative "ship within a ship" design, the MSC Yacht Club is an entirely self-contained private club area (accessed by key card only) that provides guests the best of both worlds — the privacy and exclusivity of a smaller ship with the bountiful choices and amenities only found on a larger ship, such as world-class entertainment like Cirque du Soleil, on board casinos, and specialty dining experiences like Eataly's Chef's Table. Guests booking on MSC Cruises' new builds – including MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside – will enjoy an enhanced MSC Yacht Club with additional suite options and enlarged public areas within with MSC Yacht Club.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 60.91 - 2.90%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 108.12 + 0.14%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.36 + 0.85%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 51.50 - 6.53%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which Red Star Line ship became one of the most popular cruise liners of the 1920's. She was also one of the first liners to sail on world cruises on a regular basis?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which German four stacker painted her funnels in White Star colors in an attempt to avoid capture by the British as she sought safe harbor during the early days of World War I?

Answer - The German Liner was Komprinzessin Cecile.
courtesy of John Georgountzos


Cruise News - May 8, 2017

Royal Caribbean Opens First Year-Long Program To Cuba
Royal Caribbean International announced this week that it would offer more opportunities to explore the island destination of Cuba with new sailings to Havana on Empress of the Seas. Royal Caribbean International's newly refreshed ship will sail 58 cruises of 4- and 5-night itineraries from January 2018 through March 2019, more than half offering overnight stays in the culturally vibrant city. Empress' Western Caribbean and Havana sailings are open for bookings as of today.

"Since arriving in Cuba for the first time last month, we've seen the excitement of our guests when sailing into Havana and the passion they have for the city at sail away – its people, its architecture, its food, its music. This is the enthusiasm we strive to bring to adventure-seekers who vacation with us," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "The positive reaction to our Cuba sailings is very encouraging, and we are thrilled to expand on the number of sailings for our 2018-2019 itineraries."

Empress of the Seas will return to Tampa for summer 2018, offering a series of 4- and 5-night cruises, calling on Key West, Florida, and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, as well as Havana, Cuba on most sailings. The ship will reposition to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the winter 2018-2019 season, continuing short Caribbean adventures to the Caribbean destinations. Currently, Empress sails from Tampa through Nov. 4, 2017. The ship then returns to Miami for the winter 2017-2018 season, adding calls to Royal Caribbean's private island destination CocoCay and Nassau in The Bahamas.

The vibrant Cuban culture extends beyond land to the experience on board Empress of the Seas. From cortaditos and café con leche in Café Royal to salsa music and dancing in Boleros Latin lounge, guests can enjoy a range of onboard activities developed to bring the spirit of the island to life throughout the entire journey.

Empress of the Seas spans 11 guest decks, encompasses 48,563 gross registered tons, carries 1,602 guests at double occupancy and features 795 staterooms.

Celebrity Cruises Names Malala Yousafzai As Celebrity Edge Godmother
This week Celebrity Cruises has announced a two-year partnership with Malala Fund. With the shared commitment to diversity, inclusion and gender equality, the brand is partnering with Malala Fund whose mission is to secure 12 years of safe, free quality education for every girl.

Inspired by Malala’s mission and advances in furthering girl’s education, Celebrity is honored to name 19-year old Nobel Laureate and U.N. Messenger of Peace Malala Yousafzai as the Godmother of their newest ship, Celebrity Edge, debuting late in 2018.

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, the President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, said that Malala's dedication to girls’ education sets an example worth following. "Partnering with Malala Fund was a natural fit as we share the same passion and commitment to an incredible cause. We believe in opportunities for all, especially as our crew onboard represent more than 50 different cultures - and amazing stories of achievement, education and economic advancement."

“Malala is an inspiration and a voice of hope," said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “This young woman is on a powerful mission, and we support it 100 percent. We are deeply honored to name Malala the Godmother of Celebrity Edge, and we're excited to team up with her and the Malala Fund to champion the global right to education.”

Fain added: “Malala Fund also advances one of our company’s key philosophies: that education is a great equalizer, providing opportunities to people who need it most.”

“We cannot get 130 million out-of-school girls into classrooms on our own. We are grateful to generous partners like Celebrity Cruises who support our work to help every girl learn and lead without fear,” said Philippa Lei, Malala Fund interim CEO.

A centuries-old maritime tradition, the role of Godmother is a lifetime title and honor. During the launch of a ship, the Godmother is responsible for bestowing good luck over a seagoing vessel and inspiring all that sail aboard by breaking a bottle over the bow as the ship is named, officiating the ceremony.

Malala began her life as an activist at 11 years old, writing a secret blog about life under the Taliban, who would not permit girls to go to school. She was targeted for her advocacy and, at 15, was shot on her school bus. Malala survived the attack and continued her campaign for girls’ education around the world. In 2014, Malala became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient, donating her entire prize earnings to finance a secondary school for girls in Pakistan. With Malala Fund, she continues to fight for every girl’s right to education.

Norwegian Cruise Line Takes Delivery Of Norwegian Joy
Norwegian Cruise Line today took delivery of Norwegian Joy, the brand’s fifteenth ship and the first custom-designed for the Chinese cruise market, from MEYER WERFT during an on board ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany. At 167,725–gross-tons and accommodating 3,883 guests, Norwegian Joy is the second ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class and features an innovative design with amenities tailored to provide a “First Class at Sea” experience for Chinese guests with the elements of freedom and flexibility that Norwegian Cruise Line has become known for across the globe.

“As Norwegian Cruise Line continues our global growth, Norwegian Joy’s delivery marks a momentous occasion in our company’s history, signifying our official entry into the Chinese cruise market,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are very grateful for the outstanding team at MEYER WERFT, along with our operations teams and more than 1,800 crew members, whom once again have delivered an exceptional vessel.”

“With this incredible ship, we have taken Norwegian’s signature on board experience and expanded and customized it with exciting features, services and amenities that combine the best of the East and the West,” said David Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China. “We are honored to deliver this spectacular ship to our Chinese guests and we can’t wait to see Norwegian Joy come to life when she welcomes her first guests upon her arrival in China this June.”

In advance of the delivery, Herrera and executives from Norwegian’s offices in China gathered for a traditional blessing from the Chinese Goddess of the Sea, Mazu, to ask for safe and pleasant voyages for the ship and all its guests. The ceremony was held at the Mazu Temple in Shanghai where, one year ago, the Norwegian team held a ceremony to obtain a blessing for the coins that were used in Norwegian Joy’s Keel laying ceremony. During the visit, a ceramic statue of Mazu was gifted to the company by the temple representatives and brought to Germany for the ship’s delivery. The statue has been given a place of honor aboard Norwegian Joy and will carry the blessings of Mazu on the journey to China.

“With Norwegian Joy, we have completed a highly sophisticated ship with a lot of technologically challenging features. Thanks to a dedicated team consisting of Norwegian Cruise Line, yard, classification society and suppliers, we have accomplished our goal of delivering a great ship on time, while meeting high quality expectations,” said Tim Meyer, CEO of Meyer Werft.

Following her delivery, Norwegian Joy will begin her journey to China, where she will be showcased through a grand inaugural port tour featuring one-day events at the ports of Singapore, Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy’s home-ports of Shanghai and Beijing (Tianjin). The ship will be christened in an exclusive star-studded event for honored guests on June 27, led by her Godfather, the ‘King of Chinese Pop’, Wang Leehom.

Norwegian Joy is Norwegian Cruise Line’s first purpose-built ship customized for the Chinese cruise market. The name Norwegian Joy emphasizes the experience that the ship offers, a promise that guests will ‘Experience Paradise on the Sea.’ Accommodating 3,883 guests, Norwegian Joy is designed to provide First Class at Sea experiences with onboard amenities that cater to the unique vacation desires of Chinese guests. Norwegian Joy provides a multitude of VIP accommodations including The Haven by Norwegian, the line’s exclusive, ship-within-a-ship luxury suite complex, which also includes an all-new The Haven Observation Lounge featuring 180 degree views, and a Concierge level, an all-new accommodations category that will provide a VIP experience featuring an exclusive Concierge Observation Lounge and larger balcony staterooms. Accommodations offerings also include staterooms designed specifically for families including a multitude of connecting staterooms, for extended families traveling together, as well as a wide array of mini-suite, balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms, many with virtual balconies.

Norwegian Joy offers engaging and innovative activities including a first at sea two-level competitive racetrack, an open-air laser tag course, thrilling simulator rides, Oculus virtual reality technology and interactive video walls at the Galaxy Pavilion, and two multi-story waterslides. In addition, Norwegian Joy features a tranquil open space park as well as the line’s largest upscale shopping district, complete with everything from exceptional duty-free shops to world-renowned global luxury brands.

Viking River Cruises Unveils New Ship Design In Egypt
Viking River Cruises today announced details of the newest addition to its river fleet, Viking Ra. Recently acquired, the vessel has been stripped down to the steel to undergo a complete renovation that will reflect Viking's Scandinavian design. Tailored to an intimate sailing experience for just 48 guests, Viking Ra will sail the Nile River on a new Egypt cruisetour, Pharaohs & Pyramids, that will launch in March 2018.

"Egypt is one of the most intriguing countries in the world, and it remains a top destination for many of our guests," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "For two decades, we have led the industry in river cruising with our innovative ship design and itineraries that bring our guests closer to the cultures of the world. We are committed to Egypt, and with the introduction of Viking Ra, we look forward to providing our award-winning service to our guests on the Nile – and to their experiencing this culturally rich region in the Viking way."

During the 12-day, Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary, guests will experience Egypt's cultural treasures in seven destinations. The cruisetour begins with a three-night stay at a first-class hotel in Cairo, where guests can visit iconic sites such as the Great Pyramids of Giza, the new Grand Egyptian Museum and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali. Guests will then fly to Luxor, where they will visit the Temples of Luxor and Karnak before boarding Viking Ra for a 8-day roundtrip cruise on the Nile River to Aswan, featuring Privileged Access to the tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens and excursions to the Temple of Khnum in Esna, the Dendera Temple complex in Qena, and a visit to a colorful Nubian village where guests can experience a traditional elementary school. Finally, the journey concludes with a flight back to Cairo for a final night in the historic city.

The newly rebuilt, all-suite Viking Ra will boast 24 staterooms that will exclusively accommodate 48 Viking guests for an intimate cruising experience. Named in honor the Egyptian sun god Ra, Viking Ra's name also pays homage to the great Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl and his papyrus-reed boats Ra and Ra II. Designed by experienced nautical architects and engineers, including the same interior design team responsible for the award-winning fleet of Viking Longships, Viking Ra will be a state-of-the art ship with the clean, elegant Scandinavian design for which Viking is known blended with local influences like traditional geometric Arabic patterns and terrazzo floors. Viking Ra will help guests immerse themselves in local surroundings and will feature:

• All Suite Staterooms: The ship features three suite stateroom categories, each of 291 sq. ft., including 20 Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom. All staterooms include premium amenities such as a hotel-style bed, luxury linens, sofa, private bathroom with shower, air conditioning and flat-screen TVs.
• Pool and Two Jacuzzis: In addition to two Jacuzzis, the ship features a pool at the back of the ship, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination. A sanctuary from the sun is provided by sculptural "sail-shades" inspired by local dhow ships and intricate mashrabiya-influenced screens surrounding the Pool and Sun Deck.
• Spa: Specifically designed for Viking Ra, guests can relax in The Spa offering massage services and a variety of treatments.
• Onboard Dining, Bar and Lounge: Dine in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and a selection of regional and international fare, then head to the clinker-built bar to share a cocktail with friends. During the day, guests can enjoy The Lounge to relax, take in the views through floor-to-ceiling glass doors or hear an informative discussion on the next destination.
• Enriching Entertainment: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking's "thinking person's cruise." Instead of casinos and water slides, guests are offered Viking's Culture Curriculum, which includes a Nubian evening event on board and a local experience riding a camel. Additionally, Viking's expert Egyptologist leads all excursions, sharing the archaeological and historical significance of the sites.

The Viking Difference provides guests with extraordinarily well-designed cruises that bring them closer to the cultures of the world. Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local culture at night or evening performances. And only The Viking Way brings guests itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.

Carnival To Develop New Bahamian Cruise Destination On Grand Bahama Island
Officials from Carnival Cruise Line and the Bahamian government signed an agreement today during a special signing ceremony in Freeport, Grand Bahama, for the construction of a new cruise port facility to be funded and operated by Carnival Cruise Line on Grand Bahama Island. The as-yet-unnamed planned port will be the largest purpose-built cruise facility ever constructed in The Bahamas and will take inspiration from the beauty of the Bahamian people and their islands. Features will include a one-mile stretch of beach, food, beverage and shopping outlets, a wide array of water-based amenities and other recreational facilities. The port will also feature a pier capable of accommodating two of Carnival’s largest cruise ships simultaneously and is expected to eventually host up to 1 million guests annually.

The multimillion-dollar project will provide a significant economic benefit for the country of The Bahamas, including many employment and economic opportunities throughout the development, construction and ongoing operation once completed.

“Carnival Cruise Line is the leader in year-round cruising to The Bahamas and this new development will not only provide a truly extraordinary and one-of-a-kind destination experience for our guests but it will further solidify our partnership with the people of The Bahamas,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “In 2017, along with Carnival’s sister lines, Carnival Corporation will bring close to 3 million guests to The Bahamas via calls to Nassau, Freeport, Grand Bahama, Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays, the latter two of which were developed and are operated by Carnival Corporation brands Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. Collectively, we represent the single largest cruise company investor in The Bahamas,” Duffy added.

During the signing ceremony, Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald said, “When Ted Arison, the founder of Carnival and the modern day cruise industry, embarked on his first cruise, it was to The Bahamas. From that day until now, The Bahamas continues to be one of the most strategic and important destinations for our company.” Donald continued, “Signing this agreement today is especially meaningful to me, as we strive to further contribute to the prosperity of the people of The Bahamas through providing experiences that continue to exceed our guests’ expectations.”

Prime Minister the Right Honourable Perry G. Christie stated, “The Government of The Bahamas has had a long and close association with Carnival which has been of great economic benefit to both parties.” He continued, “This new cruise port initiative in East Grand Bahama will deliver a cruise port in the traditional sense, but more than that, its shore project will create a new ‘destination’ with a distinctive flavour and characteristics that offer the broadest Bahamian entrepreneurial and employment opportunities, representing another phase in the development of Grand Bahama as a viable tourist centre.”

The project is subject to a detailed public discussion process, environmental studies and permitting.

HAL Announces ms Nieuw Statendam Itineraries
Holland America Line announced this week the initial itineraries of it's newest Pinnacle-class ship, ms Nieuw Statendam which is preparing to make her debut next year. A sister ship to ms Koningsdam, this new vessel combines classic style, engaging experiences and carefully crafted itineraries.

Inaugural sailings include a 14-day Transatlantic Premiere Voyage, from Rome to Ft. Lauderdale, December 5, 2018; and for the 2018-2019 winter season cruising roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale on seven-day Caribbean itineraries, with select four- and 10-day options.

Honoring the company’s past while keeping its eyes on the future, Nieuw Statendam will be the sixth ship in Holland America Line’s history to bear the name Statendam. It will be built at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy, and construction will begin this summer.

Like sister-ship ms Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam represents a new class of ship for the cruise line. Carrying 2,650 guests, the 99,500-gross-ton ship will feature several of the innovative venues that were introduced on Koningsdam as well as new concepts that will debut on the newbuild.

“Holland America Line is writing the next chapter in our evolving story, yet we are a company with a deep history, and the name ms Nieuw Statendam perfectly blends our past, present and future,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “The previous Statendam ships have been among the most beloved in our history, and we eagerly anticipate sharing this beautiful new ship with our guests in 2018.”

Renowned hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany’s designs will be featured on Nieuw Statendam, bringing his unique vision to this latest vessel as he did with Koningsdam. Also, several public areas will be designed by Bjorn Storbraaten, who successfully worked with Holland America Line on Koningsdam, ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam in designing the ship’s public rooms.

The first Statendam launched in 1898 and was just 10,491 gross tons. It served the fleet until 1911. The second Statendam was built in the 1910s for Holland America Line but was sold to White Star Line as Justicia before it entered service. The next Statendam served the line from 1929 until 1940, when it was scrapped after a fire.

The fourth Statendam launched in 1957 and was christened by an 18-year-old Dutch Crown Princess Beatrix, who would later become Queen and name Eurodam as well. On Jan. 7, 1958, the ship departed on a 110-day World Cruise, the first for Holland America Line. Statendam remained in the fleet until 1982, when it was sold to Paquet Cruises. The fifth ship to carry the Statendam name launched in 1993 and served the line until 2015, when it was transferred to sister cruise line P&O Cruises Australia, where it sails today as Pacific Eden.

Princess Cruises Adds More Majestic Princess Sailings
Princess Cruises today announced the addition of two 14-day Grand Asia voyages sailing between Shanghai and Singapore on the fleet's newest ship, Majestic Princess.

Available to guests throughout the world, these sailings will visit Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand in 2018, including spending more time ashore on the late night call in Hong Kong. The first voyage departs Shanghai on February 25, 2018 with the second departing Singapore on March 11, 2018.

"Based on the response we received during Majestic Princess' recent maiden cruise, we are confident she has redefined the international, luxury cruising experience," said Jan Swartz, Group President of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia, "We are thrilled to open up the opportunity for other guests to experience our newest flagship in our fleet."

Among the exceptional venue designs, amenities and entertainment experiences, Majestic Princess features two new restaurant concepts, La Mer and Harmony. La Mer offers an authentic yet updated Parisian bistro experience with a fine dining dinner menu featuring authentic French cuisine made unique with modern twists by three Michelin-star chef Emmanuel Renaut. Harmony is a specialty restaurant with modern décor and a sophisticated Cantonese dinner menu designed by Michelin-star chef Richard Chen. Together, these two venues present guests with exceptional French and Chinese dining experiences.

In addition, guests on board also have the opportunity to taste Gong Cha, the Chinese-style bubble milk tea, the authentic American steakhouse experience of Crown Grill familiar across the global fleet, Lobster Grill and Dim Sum Bar as well as Alfredo's featuring "The Best Pizza at Sea."

Additionally, The Shops of Princess features the highest quality products direct from the brand's manufacturers including luxury brands like Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard and EFFY.

On May 21, Majestic Princess will embark on the "Silk Road Sea Route" a 49-day journey from Rome to Shanghai. During the voyage she will visit a total of 22 ports including Athens, Dubai, Cochin, Singapore, Port Klang and Xiamen before arriving in Shanghai, her new homeport in China. Majestic Princess will begin her first cruise from China on July 11 carrying 3,560 guests to a variety of cruise destinations.

Princess Cruises Introduces Stanley the Bear
Bear sightings for Princess Cruises guests in Alaska are one of the most highly anticipated experiences during a cruise to the "Great Land." For the upcoming summer 2017 Alaska cruise season, beginning May 15, all Princess guests will meet a new bear mascot on board named Stanley.

Named in a Facebook contest that generated nearly 9,000 entries, Stanley was chosen in honor of the founder of Princess Cruises, Stanley B. McDonald. Stanley will appear on all Alaska sailings and interact with guests through various entertainment activities with engaging photo opportunities. On formal nights, he will dress up in his Captain's uniform and during the day wear themed apparel, such as a lumberjack outfit, tied to the destination. Stanley will also hold storytime hours for kids at the teen and youth centers.

As Stanley falls in love with cruising, he will decide to skip winter hibernation and become a stowaway, traveling the world aboard Princess ships. He will make surprise appearances on the cruise line's newest addition, Majestic Princess, just in time for the inaugural festivities in Shanghai. From there, Stanley will embark on Princess sailings to Europe, Asia, Japan and Australia.

"Introducing Stanley, our new mascot bear, offers our guests a fun and interactive experience tied to the places we sail," said Kelli Coleman, vice president retail services, Princess Cruises. "We're excited to see in which Princess destinations around the world he ends up to surprise and delight our guests."

Stanley will always pack appropriately for the destination and wear custom clothing during his visits. For example, in China Stanley will be adorned in a traditional Tang suit and cap, while in Japan he'll debut a Yukata outfit. On board, guests can participate in a daily "Where on the ship is Stanley?" contest, and expect him to be a special guest in Welcome Aboard shows throughout the cruise.

Souvenir plush Stanley bears will also be available for purchase on board in The Shops of Princess for $24.95. Princess Cruises will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this bear to support PAWS: Princess Animal Welfare Sponsor.

Guests can share their travel adventures with Stanley socially using #StanleyAtSea

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 62.74 + 0.29%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 107.97 - 0.41%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.34 - 0.85%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.10 - 0.36%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which German four stacker painted her funnels in White Star colors in an attempt to avoid capture by the British as she sought safe harbor during the early days of World War I?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which of the last great liners was sold to the Iranian government for use as accommodation ships in the 1970's?

Answer - The Michaelangelo and Raffeallo of the Italian lines were sold to Iran in 1977 to be used as stationary accomodation ships.
courtesy of Erik Vandermel


Cruise News - May 1, 2017

Disney Wonder Becomes First Passenger Vessel To Transit New Panama Canal Locks
This week, the Disney Wonder transited the Panama Canal as the first passenger vessel to go through the canal's new set of locks, marking a milestone for the cruise industry. The Disney Cruise Line 2,713-passenger ship was transformed in late 2016, expanding the length of the Disney Wonder to 984 feet.

Headlining the ship's enhancements are new imaginative spaces for children – including areas themed to the Marvel Universe and Disney's "Frozen" – a jazzy restaurant inspired by Disney's "Princess and the Frog," and an authentic neighborhood English pub with subtle nods to classic Disney films.

The Disney Wonder Panama Canal crossing is part of a 14-night voyage from Port Canaveral, Fla., to San Diego, where the ship will sail cruises to Baja, Mexico, before a summer season from Vancouver to Alaska.

Royal Caribbean Reports First Quarter Earnings and Increases Full Year Guidance
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today reported US GAAP and Adjusted Earnings per Share of $0.99 for the first quarter. This is better than expected mainly due to improved revenue and overall bookings for the rest of the year continue to perform as expected. As a result, full year adjusted earnings guidance is increased to a range of $7.00 to $7.20.

The company also announced today board authorization for a $500 million share repurchase program.

Looking at the year as a whole, the company's expectations remain largely unchanged from the guidance it provided 3 months ago:

• Bookings, overall, are not materially different, with strength in Europe offsetting the impact of Korea;
• Currency and fuel are not materially different;
• Costs continue to be under control; and
• First quarter results are the key drivers of the upward guidance revision for the full year.

Results for the First Quarter 2017:

• US GAAP and Adjusted Net Income was $214.7 million or $0.99 per share, versus US GAAP Net Income of $99.1 million or $0.46 per share and Adjusted Net Income of $124.0 million or $0.57 per share in 2016. Net Yields were up 6.0% on a Constant-Currency basis and 5.9% As-Reported. Net Cruise Costs ("NCC") excluding fuel per APCD decreased 4.4% on a Constant-Currency basis (down 4.9% As-Reported).

Full Year 2017:

• Overall, the company's booked position remains at a record level, better than last year on both a rate and volume basis. Adjusted EPS is expected to be in the range of $7.00 to $7.20 per share, up 10¢ from previous guidance. Net Yields are expected to increase 4.5% to 6.0% on a Constant-Currency basis (up 4.0% to 5.5% As-Reported). NCC excluding fuel are expected to be flat to up slightly on a Constant-Currency basis (flat As-Reported). "Our progress continues on a steady upward path toward our Double-Double goals," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO. "The year started off with a very positive tone and the tone has only continued to please. We are looking forward to our fifth consecutive year of double-digit earnings growth."

SHARE REPURCHASE PROGRAM
The company also announced today that it received board approval to implement a program to repurchase up to $500 million of its common stock. The plan will include opportunistic open market purchases over the coming periods.

Last week we achieved our financial objective of becoming an Investment Grade company with Moody's announcement improving the company's credit rating to Baa3 with a stable outlook.

"We continue to execute on our core financial objectives: improving shareholder returns, being an investment grade credit and moderately growing our business," said Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO. "Over the past five years, we have increased our dividends fivefold, repurchased close to $750 million in common stock to date and have now reached investment grade. This new repurchase program is another example of our commitment to improve returns for our shareholders."

FIRST QUARTER RESULTS
US GAAP and Adjusted Net Income for the first quarter of 2017 was $214.7 million, or $0.99 per share, compared to US GAAP Net Income of $99.1 million or $0.46 per share and Adjusted Net Income of $124.0 million, or $0.57 per share, in the first quarter of 2016. Strong close-in demand for the Caribbean drove the majority of the outperformance versus guidance.

Net Yields on a Constant-Currency basis increased 6.0% during the quarter. Constant-Currency NCC excluding fuel decreased 4.4%. Bunker pricing net of hedging for the first quarter was $531 per metric ton and consumption was 334,000 metric tons.

FULL YEAR 2017
The company has updated full year Adjusted EPS guidance to a range of $7.00 to $7.20 from $6.90 to $7.10.

Overall, the year has developed very much along the trajectory the company projected at the beginning of the year. Bookings started the year on a very strong note and continued to please. This strong demand for cruises generally has offset the recent headwinds from the disrupted Korean sailings mainly during the second and third quarters.

"First quarter's results are evidence that demand for cruise has room to grow, especially considering a 7% yield improvement achieved in the first quarter of last year," said Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO. "With consumers making the choice to spend more on experiences, our innovative hardware and superb onboard delivery is thriving."

The company expects a Net Yield increase in the range of 4.5% to 6.0% on a Constant-Currency basis and 4.0% to 5.5% on an As-Reported basis.

Net Cruise Costs excluding fuel are expected to be flat to up slightly on a Constant-Currency basis and flat on an As-Reported basis.

SECOND QUARTER 2017
Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to increase 10.0% to 10.5% in the second quarter of 2017. Strong demand for European and North American products, the deconsolidation of Pullmantur and new hardware are the key drivers of the expected yield improvement in the quarter.

NCC excluding fuel are expected to be down approximately 2.0% on a Constant-Currency basis. The absence of new ship launches and fewer drydock expenses are driving a reduction in costs relative to the prior year.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates and currency exchange rates, the company expects second quarter Adjusted EPS will be in the range of $1.60 to $1.65 per share.

Carnival Releases Renderings for Second Cruise Terminal at Port of Barcelona
Carnival Corporation & plc today released artist renderings of its second cruise terminal at the Port of Barcelona – which will be Europe's newest passenger cruise terminal when it opens in 2018. The terminal is designed to accommodate Carnival Corporation's new class of "next-generation" green cruise ships that will be fully operated by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel.

As part of an agreement signed in July 2015, Carnival Corporation will construct and operate the new 12,500 square meter terminal. The company is investing more than 30 million euros in the state-of-the-art terminal, which paired with its existing terminal at the port represents its largest combined terminal investment in Europe.

Designed by Catalan architecture firm Battle I Roig, the plans for the company's upcoming cruise terminal reflect today's modern architectural style with straight lines and a minimalist concept that will create a contemporary and comfortable guest environment.

"Our goal is to make travel for our guests as convenient, pleasant and easy as possible, and this new terminal is designed to meet and exceed guest expectations," said Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation. "The local architecture firm has done great work in designing a beautiful facility that will make Europe's largest cruise port even better."

''This terminal marks the culmination of years of partnership," said Sixte Cambra, president of the Port of Barcelona Port Authority. "Since the beginning of our relationship, Carnival Corporation has shown strong success in our port and city, and 10 years after the opening of the first terminal, this has materialized in a new facility for their cruise brands. Carnival Corporation has been a loyal partner to the Port of Barcelona, bringing passengers of different nationalities and generating a strong financial impact to our local economy."

Construction on the project officially began in July 2016, and once complete it will enhance the embarkation and disembarkation process for cruise guests visiting Catalonia and its surrounding areas on one of Carnival Corporation's ships.

The new terminal, on the port's Adossat wharf, will increase Carnival Corporation's passenger capacity at the port, which is used by eight of the company's 10 global cruise line brands as both a destination and home port. Carnival Corporation is expecting to accommodate over one million passengers at the Port of Barcelona once its second cruise terminal is open in 2018.

Eight brands from Carnival Corporation – AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn and P&O Cruises (UK) – visit Barcelona throughout the year. Carnival Corporation guests who visit Catalonia can take advantage of a variety of excursions, such as strolling the Girona historic quarter or visiting the multi-peaked rocky range of Montserrat and its Benedictine abbey, and exploring attractions within Barcelona, such as touring Gaudi's famed Sagrada Familia Cathedral.

Beginning April 2018, the terminal facilities will host inaugural sailings of Carnival Horizon, Carnival Cruise Line's newest ship, which includes attractions such as SkyRide, IMAX Theatre and Water Works, as well as Aida Cruises' newest ship AIDAperla featuring attractions such as the Beach Club under a UV-permeable dome and an above-water skywalk. AIDAperla is one of the world's first cruise ships to feature dual-fuel engines, which, depending on availability at the port, can also be operated with virtually zero-emission liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Princess Cruises Announces Australia Deployment for 2018-2019
Princess Cruises has announced it will homeport four ships to ports in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific for the 2018-2019 season. Princess Cruises will introduce the 3,560-guest Majestic Princess to the market for its Inaugural Season, calling Australia home from September 2018 to March 2019. As the newest in the Princess fleet, Majestic Princess will sail itineraries from Sydney and Auckland on voyages from 6 to 13 days in length, and will call in ports at destinations including New Zealand, Tasmania, Fiji and other islands in the South Pacific.

"Australia and the entire South Pacific region has always had an allure as a magical place for travellers, and cruising is one of the best ways to explore this part of the world," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "We are thrilled to introduce Majestic Princess, the newest jewel in the fleet to this beautiful region of the world."

Four Princess ships will sail from six homeports on more than 95 departures with 50 unique itineraries to more than 70 destinations in 18 countries. Some of the sailings include:

• Majestic Princess will sail on a 19- and 22-day Asia & Australia voyage departing from Shanghai in March 2019. Guests have even more ways to explore the natural wonders of New Zealand with all four Princess ships sailing to the country's beautiful coastal landscapes on cruises ranging from 11- to 14-days.
• Sun Princess sails 13 roundtrip departures from Sydney to New Zealand, Fiji, Tasmania and Queensland, as well as an Asia & Australia voyage sailing 19 days from Hong Kong to Sydney.
• A maiden call to Moreton Island, which is located just off the Queensland coast and boasts to be one of the world's largest sand islands, is included on the 4-day Sun Princess Australia Getaway departing on January 5, 2019.
• Sea Princess will make maiden calls to the Conflict Islands on her 11-day Papua New Guinea itineraries sailing from Brisbane this season, giving guests more options for exploration.
• Longer cruise options on Sea Princess during the season include the full 28-day Round Australia which circumnavigates the continent as well as a popular 35-day Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific voyage sailing in April 2019.

To further enhance the cruise vacation experience, Princess Cruises will offer two cruisetours. The Australian Outback cruisetour immerses guests in Aboriginal culture while visiting two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock in Uluru National Park. The more extensive Ultimate Australia cruisetour includes Ayers Rock in the heart of the Outback, the Great Barrier Reef, the northern tropical city of Darwin, and Cairns.

MSC Cruises Announces More MSC Bellissima Details
MSC Cruises announced today announced more details about MSC Bellissima, the second mega cruise ship of the company's Meraviglia generation of ships. Beginning in March 2019, MSC Bellissima will cruise the Western Mediterranean for its inaugural season.

A highlight of MSC Bellissima's on board entertainment will be two Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows, created by the world leader in entertainment, Cirque du Soleil. The two performances will take place six nights per week in the purpose-built Carousel Lounge, allowing guests to enjoy a dazzling performance along with an exclusive pre-show dinner service – a table d'hôte offering an eclectic selection of creative dishes served before the show begins. This unique experience, created exclusively for MSC Cruises' guests, will be available both on MSC Meraviglia – debuting this June 2017 – and now also on its sister ship MSC Bellissima.

"Bearing testimony to our focus on innovation, MSC Bellissima will be the fourth new ship coming into service in just two years," said Gianni Onorato, Chief Executive Officer of MSC Cruises. "She will join what is already one of the most modern fleets at sea as our long-standing focus is to always offer our guests the most modern and innovative ships to ensure they make the most out of their vacation at sea."

"When it comes to the Meraviglia generation of ships, we are particularly proud of our unique partnership with Cirque du Soleil who is creating a total of eight original shows for all four ships. MSC Bellissima will feature two brand new shows, giving guests yet another reason to experience the new addition to our fleet," added Onorato.

MSC Bellissima will offer guests an unforgettable MSC Cruises experience with highlights including:

• Six ports in seven nights in the Western Mediterranean: MSC Bellissima will call at the popular ports of Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona as well as other much sought after Mediterranean destinations including Naples, Messina in Sicily and Valetta in Malta, with a wide range of shore activities carefully designed to help guests discover to the fullest each destination and its unique culture.
• An unprecedented choice of both fine dining and casual options through 10 dining venues, and in true MSC Cruises fashion, always serving fresh, authentic food.
• A vast array of family facilities and entertainment which provide the ideal family getaway and are designed in partnership with leading family experts including the LEGO Group and Chicco. Families can also enjoy programs in the DOREMI Studio Lounge, a dedicated lounge for all family activities, and the DOREMI Tech Lab, a must visit destination for kids who love technology.
• A Mediterranean-style promenade with a 262 ft. LED Sky screen, the longest at sea, which is the social hub of the ship with a range of shops and restaurants.
• The acclaimed digital innovation program, MSC for Me, which will be available to all guests on board. Employing the latest technology available at sea, MSC for Me allows guests to easily customize their on-board and on-shore experience. MSC for Me touches every aspect of a guest's vacation, from simplifying planning and making on-board purchases, to providing information and facilitating safety and security.

MSC Bellissima will embark on her maiden voyage from Genoa, Italy on March 24, 2019.

MSC Bellissima has been designed for all seasons and is able to call in most of the world's international cruise ports. With a gross tonnage of 167,600 GRT and a total capacity for more than 5,700 guests (4,500 at double occupancy), this new cruise ship will be the largest in the MSC Cruises' fleet, along with MSC Meraviglia.

HAL Launches Complimentary Navigator Shipboard Web Application
Holland America Line is changing the way guests digitally access shipboard experiences and information across the fleet with the launch of Holland America Line Navigator, a free mobile-friendly tool. Navigator does not need to be downloaded in advance, does not require an internet connection and works on the browsers of most personal devices including phones, tablets and laptops.

Using Navigator, guests can plan their daily activities, explore and book shore excursions, view restaurant menus and make dining reservations, view spa treatments, connect to paid internet and look at their shipboard account balance. Additional features include access to ship deck plans, a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and links to complimentary internet sites such as hollandamerica.com. Navigator can be accessed by connecting to the ship's Wi-Fi network and opening the device's browser.

"Consumers expect to be able to plan their activities digitally, and Navigator makes it easy for our guests to put many of our shipboard experiences at their fingertips," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "Navigator is changing the way we're presenting various options on board, and with all of the convenient features it's easier than ever to plan your time and have instant access to personalized cruise details."

To access the full functionality of Navigator, guests can create an account by following a simple registration process. Registering allows guests to plan a personal itinerary, make dining reservations, book shore excursions, view shipboard account information and connect to paid internet. There are no charges to register or use Navigator.

One of the key features of Navigator is that it allows guests to select and save specific activities to a personalized "my itinerary" to plan out their cruise days up to a week in advance. Those activities show up alongside booked dining reservations and shore excursions to truly help the guest get the most out of their time aboard.

Princess Introduces Two New Stage Shows
Two new Broadway-style stage shows offered to Princess Cruises guests are receiving rave reviews – “Born to Dance,” the latest show to debut in the cruise line’s Stephen Schwartz partnership and “Encore,” based on the highly popular opera performance “Bravo”.

“Princess audiences are mesmerized by our high caliber, Broadway-style shows,” said Denise Saviss, vice president, entertainment experience for Princess Cruises. “As part of our ‘Come Back New Promise,’ providing guests enriching vacation experiences through enhanced onboard product offerings, ‘Born to Dance’ and ‘Encore’ deliver engaging experiences, ultimately creating lifelong memories for our guests.”

“Born to Dance”
Created in partnership with Stephen Schwartz, Oscar, Grammy and Tony Award-winning composer of “Wicked,” “Godspell,” and “Pippin,” “Born to Dance” is the second offering in the cruise line’s exclusive partnership. The show celebrates the aspirations, hurdles and triumphs of professional dancers, as told through tributes to Broadway’s greatest choreography in a feel-good story.

“We’re proud of our dynamic collaboration with Stephen Schwartz bringing our second revered show to life with ‘Born to Dance.’ Guests love the high-energy music and dancing,” added Saviss.

Princess audiences get a glimpse of what it takes to be a dancer, the highs and lows and that driving need to dance brought to life by some of Broadway’s most famous hits including “West Side Story,” “A Chorus Line,” “Chicago” and more. A who’s-who of acclaimed choreographers and dancers virtually join the multi-media production, tracing the journey of the great artists and shows that made musical theater history.

Overseeing the creative development of four brand new shows for Princess Cruises, Schwartz brings together an illustrious team of Broadway talent to support the productions through direction and design. “Born to Dance” is created and directed by Daniel C. Levine from Broadways’ “Les Misérables” and “Mamma Mia!” and is now showing aboard Golden Princess, Grand Princess and Star Princess. Additional talent includes costume design by six time Tony Award winner William Ivey Long, musical arrangement by Bryan Perri, conductor for Broadway’s Wicked, choreography by Al Blackstone from the hit show So You Think You Can Dance, and scenic design by Tony Award winner Beowulf Boritt. The show will premiere next on Regal Princess in October.

“Encore”
Celebrating the cruise line’s legacy of original entertainment created in-house, “Encore” is inspired by the cruise line’s top-rated show “Bravo” and accompanied by an impressive onstage orchestra.

“We embrace our long-standing tradition of creating original entertainment to captivate our guests and ‘Encore’ delivers a moving performance audiences will remember long after the curtain closes,” added Saviss.

“Encore” pays homage to the traditions of pop, opera and musical theater in a spellbinding experience set amidst the romantic splendor of a beautiful Montecito garden. Showcasing new songs performed by a true soprano guest artist and combined with elaborate costumes and stunning sets, the show is conceived, directed and choreographed by American Idol’s Danny Teeson, with musical direction by Academy Awards arranger Nelson Kole and set design by Emmy award-winner John Iacovelli.

Coral Princess, Island Princess and Sea Princess are currently showing “Encore,” with Royal Princess the next ship to receive the show in December.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 62.55 + 4.91%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 108.41 + 11.26%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.36 - 0.42
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.90 + 9.04%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which of the last great liners was sold to the Iranian government for use as accommodation ships in the 1970's?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which famous liner included the Knickerbocker Bar with artwork depicting the evolution of the cocktail?

Answer - It was the Empress of Britain which had the the Knickerbocker Bar with artwork depicting the evolution of the cocktail?
courtesy of William Niff


Cruise News - April 24, 2017

Silversea Christens New Flagship Silver Muse
Silversea welcomed His Serene Highness the Prince Albert II of Monaco, His Excellency Minister of State of the Principality, Serge Telle , His Excellency Archbishop of Monaco Barsi, Mr. Peter Greenberg ( CBS-TV Travel Editor, Master of Ceremony), Mr. Geoffrey Kent ( Abercrombie & Kent Founder), Mr. Gerald Lawless ( Chairman of WTCC), VIPs and other distinguished guests to Port Hercule in the heart of Monaco, for an intimate ceremony marking the christening of the latest addition to their fleet, Silver Muse.

The historic celebration, which was hosted by Silversea Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, and was honoured by the amazing performance of Sinfonietta Orchestra of Rome, as well as the renowned Violinist Charlie Siem, providing the ceremony with a very elegant and amazing atmosphere.

Silver Muse, the ninth ship in the Silversea fleet, caters to the most discerning passengers at sea, offering the highest expression of elegance and comfort, redefining the ultra-luxury cruising experience.

Over the past two weeks, guests invited from around the world have had the opportunity to preview the new flagship on a number of exclusive sailings in the Mediterranean. Initial feedback from members of the press, trade and industry representatives alike has been overwhelmingly positive, with the quality of finish delivered by Fincantieri and levels of service by Silversea crew exceeding guests’ expectations.

Accommodating 596 guests, the ship boasts an unrivalled selection of dining options on board including three restaurants new to the Silversea fleet. These are Atlantide, a seafood and grill concept that represents the ultimate in excellence and creativity using the finest ingredients sourced from across the world; the Asian-accented Indochine; and an Italian-themed poolside restaurant Spaccanapoli which serves home-made Italian pizzas throughout the day. These give guests on Silver Muse a choice of eight restaurants and also the freedom to eat “anything, anywhere, anytime” on the ship.

The ship is also home to the unique Zàgara Beauty Spa which offers a sanctuary of leisure and comfort, transporting guests on a journey of the five senses tailored to their individual needs and preferences.

Monaco is not simply the base for Silversea’s operations, it is the natural home for the company’s proud Monegasque history. Silversea showcases the culture, traditions and values of the Principality to the world, with its nine ships visiting over 800 different ports of call each year.

Attending the christening ceremony, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco said: “On behalf of the Principality of Monaco I would like to extend a warm welcome to Silver Muse, its crew and passengers. She represents the next generation of cruise ships in both fuel efficiency and energy saving technology. We share with Silversea common values and principles in relation with responsable environmental practices and the development of a sustainable business activity. The preservation of the oceans is a crucial priority for future generations."

Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, Silversea Chairman, said: “The close ties between Silversea and the Principality of Monaco reflect not only our commitment to this beautiful region but also the history and values that we adhere to. Silversea is an Italian family-owned business yet our heart will always be shared with the Principality as we continue to go from strength to strength. As the home of Silversea, Monaco was always the natural choice for the christening of our new flagship, Silver Muse, and it is with great pleasure that we can share this milestone with both the residents and guests of the Principality.”

Roberto Martinoli, CEO at Silversea Cruises, added: “Silversea is associated with exceptional quality and voyages that leave long lasting memories of discovery and wonder. At a time when we are investing in our entire fleet Silver Muse offers guests a taste of what is to come. Silver Muse represents an evolution of the hallmarks that set Silversea apart from the competition. With eight dining options offering 28 variations of culinary delights, Silver Muse has redefined the art of gastronomy at sea. With more open-air spaces and state of the art facilities we are sure that both new and returning guests will enjoy unforgettable memories on board.

Crystal Announces Complete Details Of Crystal Symphony & Crystal Serenity Redesigns
Crystal unveiled this week the complete plans for Crystal Symphony's and Crystal Serenity's dry dock transformations. In what the company is calling the "Evolution of Crystal Luxury," in 2017 and 2018, Crystal will embark on the multi-million-dollar investment that will see the two ships reimagined to new standards of innovative luxury. The plans for Crystal's two ocean ships are the latest in its tremendous brand expansion, which will also see new river yachts, new ocean-going vessels and a privately-owned Boeing 777 join the fleet in the next three years.

"Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity are the foundation of Crystal and continue to embody the cornerstones of the celebrated Crystal Experience," says Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez. "These ships have earned us not only acclaim from the world's most eminent entities and publications for more than two decades, but more importantly, the loyalty of the world's most discerning travelers and travel partners. We are committed to continuing their reign as the most luxurious ships at sea by investing in changes and updates that will far exceed our guests' wishes."

While the two ships' refurbishments are scheduled almost a year apart, plans for both are predominantly streamlined, offering guests a consistently superlative experience on board whichever Crystal ship they choose to sail. As part of the extensive redesign, several staterooms will be converted into brand new luxurious penthouse categories to take the place of smaller staterooms; imaginative new dining options will be revealed; ships will be loaded with high-tech perks; and modern, elegant décor updates will be made in many public spaces.

New Penthouses and Penthouse Suites
Both ships will gain more of the spacious, butler-serviced Penthouses and Penthouse Suites. Crystal Symphony will see two new categories of accommodations altogether: Seabreeze Penthouse Suite with Verandah (12 new suites added) and Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah (28 new suites added), both occupying Deck 9, Seabreeze. The new accommodations will boast the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (367 sq. ft. and 491 sq. ft., respectively), while Seabreeze Penthouses will be connected by a shared an entryway recessed from the hall.

Aboard Crystal Serenity, the 36 additional Penthouses and 2 additional Penthouse Suites will occupy the current Penthouse Deck 10, and will also offer the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (403 sq. ft. and 538 sq. ft., respectively).

Penthouse accommodations offer guests enhanced all-inclusive Crystal amenities, including butler service and in-room specialty dining. Penthouse guests will also now receive unlimited complimentary dining at the onboard specialty restaurants. The conversion of staterooms into the new penthouse accommodations effectively reduces the ships' guest capacities – Crystal Symphony to 848 and Crystal Serenity to 980 – and increases the per-guest space ratio aboard the ships to 60.2 and 70.3 respectively. Abundant space throughout its luxury ships has long been a cornerstone of Crystal's platform, and a key distinction between its ships and competitors.

Refreshed Dining Options
The world-class cuisine served on Crystal ships will also enjoy a revolution, as Crystal mainstays transform into inspired modern venues that still exude the elegant culinary atmosphere for which Crystal is known. Inclusive to the renowned Crystal Experience, the posh eateries feature diverse menus of Michelin-level cuisine inspired by the worldwide destinations Crystal visits.

The Crystal Dining Room, the ships' centrally located main dining venue, will become Waterside, reflecting the chic décor and sophisticated ambiance of the main dining room aboard Crystal River Cruises' Crystal Mozart. Additional tables for two and four guests offer expanded options for intimate dining in the expansive space, while a new open seating concept invites guests to dine at their leisure between 6 and 9:30 p.m., eliminating Crystal's previous format of assigned seating and reservations. Waterside will also continue to serve breakfast and lunch during current time frames.

The Lido Café, another hot spot aboard both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, will take on new life as the Marketplace by day and Churrascaria by night. Both venues will feature an open kitchen concept with dishes made to order. The Marketplace will continue to serve casual buffet style breakfast and lunch options, and will transition to Churrascaria, a stylish casual dinner venue, from 6 to 9 p.m., creating an additional evening option for guests. Churrascaria will feature a Caipirinha as a welcome cocktail and serve a selection of Brazilian-inspired tapas, ceviche, salads and grilled seafood and meats presented by Crystal "gauchos" on sword-like skewers.

New to the Crystal menu of onboard restaurants on both ships will be Silk, located in the Trident area of their respective Lido Decks. The contemporary space will offer modern Chinese-inspired fare with family-style dinner plates ideal for sharing, and self-service options for breakfast and lunch that include dumplings, Chinois salad, a soup and noodle bar and other Asian favorites. For the dinner hours between 6 and 9 p.m., reservations will be recommended, although open seating will be accommodated. The Trident Bar & Grill will remain in the adjacent space, serving casual grilled options including burgers and sandwiches.

Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, the specialty dining venues by famed Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, will be rebranded as Umi Uma – reflecting the Japanese word for Crystal's eponymous seahorses. The authentic venues will still serve the inspired cuisine of Nobu, prepared by his personally trained chefs, and will remain the only Nobu restaurants at sea. All specialty dining reservations for Umi Uma and Prego will be complimentary for Penthouse guests, while all other guests will enjoy one complimentary evening of specialty dining, with additional reservations available for a modest charge. Reservations are always required for specialty dining venues.

Technological Upgrades
Upon completion of Crystal Symphony's dry dock in November 2017, guests will receive unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi throughout any Crystal voyage aboard all Crystal vessels. Crystal's investment in technological amenities for guests will include hardware and software enhancements to enable expanded internet connectivity and doubled satellite speed. Additionally, a new guest portal – Crystal Connect – will be launched and featured on the landing page of onboard internet connections. The portal enables guests to easily access the internet, as well as an array of shipboard information including daily menus from each restaurant, daily Reflections, day and evening activities, Crystal Adventures shore excursions and daily port maps. A number of international newspapers will also be available for digital viewing, as well as a library of box office hit movies, Crystal lectures on demand and much more. Crystal Connect will also be available in a mobile application for use on guests' personal devices.

In all rooms throughout the ships – in each stateroom and in all public areas – ultra-thin, 42-inch, interactive flat-panel TVs will enable guests to conveniently access their onboard folios, view the Crystal Spa & Salon, Connoisseur Wine Selection, and dining menus, with the ability to make any onboard reservations, reserve shore excursions and order room service. These new interactive TVs will also showcase the latest Hollywood movies and hit TV series. Crystal's acclaimed Computer University@Sea classrooms will also undergo updates and makeover, further enhancing the technological experience and enrichment for guests.

Reimagined Public Spaces
Several favorite shipboard spaces will enjoy reimagined designs, while maintaining their inherent function as part of travelers' onboard experience. The top-deck, forward Palm Court lounge aboard Crystal Serenity will be entirely redesigned to feature more intimate seating, while Crystal Symphony's mid-ship Starlite Club, a hub for evening dancing and cocktails, will also be refitted, still boasting panoramic sea views.

Crystal Symphony's redesign is set for September 19-October 21, 2017; Crystal Serenity's for October 14-November 10, 2018. The dry docks and subsequent relaunch of both ships mark additional milestones for the Crystal fleet, as the company increases its luxury presence throughout the world's oceans, Europe's rivers and the skies.

Adds Rodriguez, "Throughout this tremendous expansion, our commitment to setting an unprecedented standard of luxury travel experiences is unwavering. We will continue to place the quality of our guests' experience above all other priorities, and our exquisitely designed vessels are integral to that experience."

Cunard Provides Plans $40M Refurbishment of Queen Victoria
Following the recent Cunard announcement revealing Queen Victoria's $40 million refit in May, the luxury cruise line is unveiling the anticipated digital renderings showcasing new and refreshed features.

Scheduled for completion in June, just in time for summer, some of the many highlights include a new exquisite Lido Sun Deck for sun seekers as well as a stunning Winter Garden. The cruise line also offers an inside look at the Britannia Club Staterooms, Britannia Club Restaurant and five new luxurious Penthouse Suites.

"Queen Victoria's refit will not only offer our guests an additional 43 Britannia Club staterooms and a dedicated restaurant, but it will also enhance the guest experience in already-beloved spaces like the Lido Sun Deck, Winter Garden and pre-existing staterooms onboard," said Joshua Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "We've responded to our guests' insights to broaden our onboard offering by adding new bar concepts and large flat-screen TVs in all staterooms. The distinctively Cunard experience will continue with design inspiration from previous ships to offer a modern travel experience that guests can only experience on Cunard."

The ship will be taken out of service on May 5, 2017 to undergo the refit at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Italy and is scheduled for completion on June 4, 2017. Queen Victoria, will then return to Southampton before embarking on its maiden four night voyage, visiting Amsterdam, Zeebrugge (Bruges), before returning to Southampton.

More details on Queen Victoria's refurbishment will follow over the coming months.

Holland America Line Introduces New Beverage Packages
Holland America Line has introduced a new Elite Beverage Package for guests that features premium beverage selections. With this new package, guests may now also enjoy libations from Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff’s collection of unique, classic cocktails, such as The Ritz Cocktail, The Hemingway Daiquiri and Midnight Sun, his latest masterpiece created to celebrate Holland America Line’s 70th year of exploring Alaska.

“For many guests, there’s nothing better than relaxing with a handcrafted cocktail before dinner or after a long day of exploring in a port of call,” said Orlando Ashford, president, Holland America Line. “Our various beverage packages offer an array of choices and are a great value as well as a convenient way to enjoy this aspect of the cruise experience.”

The Elite Beverage Package features any premium spirits, cocktails, wines, beers, coffees, nonalcoholic beverages, bottled water and sodas up to a value of $15 each. On ms Koningsdam, the package also includes the Coca-Cola Freestyle program, where guests can enjoy more than 100 unique Coca-Cola flavors. The price for the Elite Beverage Package is $54.95 per person, per day.

Holland America Line has also introduced discounted pricing for its existing Signature Beverage Package, where guests save five dollars when they purchase the package online for $44.95 per person, per day, before their cruise; the same package when purchased aboard ship is priced at $49.95 per person, per day. The Signature Beverage Package includes standard selections of wine, beer, spirits, sodas, coffees and cocktails up to a value of $8 each.

In addition to the Elite and Signature beverage packages, Holland America Line also offers two nonalcoholic beverage options and a Water package.

Quench Beverage Package features unlimited nonalcoholic beverages that include any juices, bottled water, nonalcoholic cocktails, nonalcoholic beers and specialty coffees for a price of $17.95 per person, per day.

The Coca-Cola Package includes unlimited fountain sodas for $8.00 per person, per day. On ms Koningsdam this package also includes the Coca-Cola Freestyle program with more than 100 unique Coca-Cola flavors.

The Water Package offers 12 liter bottles for a price of $32.

Wine enthusiasts will enjoy the Cellar Master Package, consisting of a choice of five wine bottles, a standard and a premium winetasting, one Pinnacle Grill dinner, a wine accessory gift set and a Holland America Line commemorative bottle of wine. Cellar Master Package prices begin at $252 per person.

From that first latte in the morning until a nightcap before retiring to the stateroom, the premium line’s beverage packages and convenient beverage cards give guests the convenience to pay a one-time value-added fee to enjoy a variety of beverages during a cruise.

All beverage packages and cards can be purchased online in advance of sailing or as gifts for other sailing guests. Unless otherwise noted, beverage packages must be purchased for the duration of the cruise and for all occupants of a stateroom. A 15 percent service charge is automatically added to all beverage purchases.

The new package brings the total beverage package options to five, including the Signature Package, Quench Beverage Package, Coca-Cola Package and Cellar Master Package.

Norwegian Cruise Line Reveals Norwegian Bliss Entertainment Line-Up
Norwegian Cruise Line today revealed that its award-winning entertainment programming will reach new heights on Norwegian Bliss, the line’s sixteenth ship, which has been designed for the ultimate cruising experience and will sail to Alaska and the Caribbean beginning in June 2018. Norwegian will once again bring the best of Broadway to sea, with the 2006 Tony Award winner for “Best Musical,” Jersey Boys, and a completely new and original show created by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, headlining on the ship’s main stage, the Bliss Theater. Norwegian Bliss will also feature a new comedy club and nightlife venue, a new theatrical cocktail hour experience, Happy Hour Prohibition- The Musical, an outpost of the legendary Beatles’ venue The Cavern Club and much more.

“With Norwegian Bliss, we are continuing our legacy of bringing our guests the finest entertainment at sea,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief executive officer. “Our entertainment team is bringing to life dazzling displays and award-winning musical sounds across our fleet, and Norwegian Bliss will continue that legacy with the Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys and incredible new concepts created just for this spectacular ship.” Norwegian has paved the way for outstanding entertainment in the cruise industry, as the first cruise line to feature branded entertainment in 2010 aboard Norwegian Epic. Today, Norwegian is known for its bold and vibrant musicals and Broadway-style shows. Norwegian Bliss will build on the company’s success and commitment to excellence in entertainment with the ship’s two main stage shows.

Headlining in the Bliss Theater will be the 2006 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical, Jersey Boys. The show goes behind themusic of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and follows four blue-collar kids working their way from the streets of Newark to the heights of stardom. Jersey Boys features all of their hits including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What A Night,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back To You.” Jersey Boys will hit the high seas for its first production at sea after 11 record-breaking years on Broadway. As one of the longest running shows in Broadway history, including many world tours, Jersey Boys has been seen by more than 24 million people worldwide. Jersey Boys is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe.

Norwegian Cruise Line is currently developing an exclusive original musical theater show created and produced specifically for Norwegian Bliss. The new show will be a Cuban-inspired Broadway-style musical created by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, featuring electrifying dance, colorful pageantry and sensational sounds developed by some of the most sought-after names on Broadway today. Warren Carlyle has worked on countless Broadway productions; acclaimed as one of Broadway’s best, Carlyle most recently choreographed the Broadway musical Hello, Dolly starring Bette Midler and directed and choreographed After Midnight, which earned the Tony Award in 2014 for “Best Choreography” and is currently delighting audiences on Norwegian Escape. Norwegian Bliss’ new show will also feature costumes by famed Cuban-American fashion icon Isabel Toledo, whose diverse design eye has made her a coveted name in high-end couture, mainstream fashion and Broadway costume design, having designed for First Lady Michelle Obama as well as earning a Tony Award nomination for “Best Costume Design” in 2014 for After Midnight. Isabel’s husband, Ruben Toledo, will be developing the new show’s art and scenic designs; also a Cuban-American artist, Ruben’s work has appeared across the globe including in Vogue magazine, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. More details on this incredible new show will be shared this fall.

In a new concept exclusive to Norwegian Bliss, the Alibi is a reimagined comedy and nightclub space that will feature sets from today’s most popular stand-up comedians, and then transform to a chic nightclub late in the evening. Alibi will feature two comedy performances six nights a week, offering both family-friendly and mature comedy shows. Guests who visit the swanky club will find intimate seating and cocktail tables during comedy performances, while those who visit Alibi after 10 p.m. will be captivated by the lounge’s black and white chevron patterned dancefloor, LED disco lighting and a DJ spinning today’s hottest hits.

Norwegian Bliss’ guests will have the opportunity to travel back in time to January 16, 1919 – the eve of the Prohibition era – for a rowdy good time with the new show, Happy Hour Prohibition- The Musical. Created by Broadway sensations Holly-Anne Palmer, whose creative talent has been featured in hits like Bring It On and Jersey Boys, among others, as well as Liz Muller and Collin Simon of Pipe Dream Theatre, Happy Hour Prohibition – The Musical will hit the high seas after delighting audiences for nearly two years in New Orleans and New York City. Guests will join the talented cast in Miss Lulu’s infamous New Orleans speakeasy, Mahogany Hall, as they entertain with tales of bootleggers and intoxicating choreography by Broadway veteran Lauren Lim Jackson, set to some of the era’s most famous tunes including Let’s Misbehave, Happy Feet and Makin’ Whoopee. During the one hour performance, guests will savor their own Prohibition era specialty cocktails, each with a modern twist. The show will be performed on select evenings as a happy hour pre-dinner show and once each cruise as a late night adults-only show in the Alibi Comedy and Nightclub.

In an expansion of the successful partnership that began during Norwegian Epic’s recent renovation through the Norwegian Edge™ program, the extremely popular rock and roll venue The Cavern Club will delight guests aboard Norwegian Bliss. The Cavern Club is inspired by the Liverpool club where the Beatles performed frequently in the 1960’s. The lounge brings rock and roll to life with nightly live performances and a Beatles cover band singing hits like “Penny Lane,” “Yellow Submarine,” and more.

Dr. Seuss WaterWorks Park To Be Featured On New Carnival Horizon Debuting In 2018
Carnival Cruise Line's newest ship, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, will be the first in the fleet to feature Dr. Seuss WaterWorks, a vibrant water park inspired by the whimsical world and words of the legendary children's author. The 3,934-passenger vessel is set to debut in Europe April 2, 2018.

The announcement was made by Carnival President Christine Duffy and Dr. Seuss Enterprises President Susan Brandt at Cruise3Sixty, an annual gathering of travel agents held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Dr. Seuss WaterWorks builds upon the line's distinction as the family cruise leader carrying nearly 800,000 kids a year as well as the incredible success of the fleetwide Seuss at Sea program, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises that features immersive onboard Dr. Seuss-themed youth, family, dining and entertainment experiences.

Located on Deck 12, Carnival Horizon's Dr. Seuss WaterWorks will offer two distinctly different slides each promising their own splash-tastic fun.

Inspired by everyone's favorite feline, The Cat in the Hat slide will feature an enclosed raft slide offering more than 450 feet of heart-racing twists and turns. The entrance resembles The Cat's famous red and white hat with the distinctive color pattern carried throughout the slide in alternating translucent and opaque sections.

Sure to be equally fun will be the Fun Things slide, an enclosed body slide with whimsical polka dots and special lighting effects and named after the mischievous duo Thing 1 and Thing 2 and encompassing 213 feet of exhilarating all-ages fun.

Dr. Seuss WaterWorks will also include a 150-gallon tipping bucket patterned after The Cat's hat, along with a kiddie splash zone with dozens of water spray toys.

Larger-than-life images of famous Dr. Seuss characters – including The Cat in the Hat holding an inner tube, The Grinch sporting a surf board tucked under his arm, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 frolicking atop their namesake slide – will greet visitors as they enter the park, with memorable Dr. Seuss phrases displayed on clear partitions that surround the facility.

"Our ships are designed as the ultimate seagoing playgrounds and Carnival Horizon will take this concept to the next level with the spectacular Dr. Seuss WaterWorks which promises fun for guests of all ages," said Duffy. "Dr. Seuss is an iconic American brand and we're delighted to expand our partnership with this incredible top-deck water attraction for our guests."

Added Brandt, "We're excited to build upon our relationship with Carnival by introducing our first-ever water park. Dr. Seuss is all about family fun and togetherness and we can't wait to see our characters come to life in this colorful and exciting space."

Dr. Seuss WaterWorks is just one of several family-friendly features on Carnival Horizon which will also feature the groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre and the SportSquare outdoor recreation area with a suspended ropes course. A wide range of accommodations will also be offered, including extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, which will include a Family Lounge area with large screen TVs, board games and complimentary breakfast, cookies and other snacks.

Carnival Horizon will also feature the Dr. Seuss Bookville family reading and play venue and popular Seuss at Sea activities like The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends and the Seuss-a-palooza Parade and Story Time.

Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from this port. Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Following a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018.

Holland America Line Introduces 2018 Signature Experiences
Holland America Line recently unveiled new culturally immersive Signature Experiences on select 2018 cruise itineraries departing from Montréal, Québec, Canada, and five of the most popular cities in Europe: Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Barcelona, Spain; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Rome and Venice, Italy.

Each pre-cruise Signature Experience was created exclusively for Holland America Line and includes an evening event, two-night luxury hotel stay and transfers. Guests who book a suite on the eligible cruises receive the Signature Experiences complimentary, but space is limited and reservations are required.

"Holland America Line guests are travelers who enjoy immersing themselves in the cultures of the places we visit, and our new Signature Experiences present some of the most iconic destinations in a unique way that isn't available to the general public," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "By showcasing these incredible cities at night with exclusive opportunities, our guests will come away with a deeper cultural impression and experiences that go well beyond traditional tours."

Taste of Montréal – Old & New
On select Canada & New England cruises that depart from Montréal, the Taste of Montréal – Old & New Signature Experience visits the city's most popular sights and takes guests behind the velvet rope at one of its leading cultural institutions. In addition to the immersive city tour, the package also includes a two-night hotel stay and complimentary transfers.

During the Signature Experience, guests visit Place Ville Marie, the city's most iconic structure built atop an underground city. The tour continues with a visit to the observation deck of Au Sommet Place Ville Marie for fabulous city views and then culminates with an exclusive evening at Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal History and Archaeology Museum, for a private, after-hours visit with appetizers and an open bar in the museum.

Europe Signature Experiences Offered in Five Fascinating Cities
In Europe guests on cruises departing from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Rome or Venice can book an exclusive Signature Experience before they set sail.

In Amsterdam, An Evening at the Rijksmuseum takes guests on an after-hours private tour of the most-visited national museum in the Netherlands. After a cocktail reception with hors d'oeuvres in the museum's foyer, participants tour the Rijksmuseum Honor Gallery, followed by a three-course dinner in the Rijksmuseum's café.

An Evening at Casa Batlló in Barcelona includes a private tour of this iconic architectural treasure created by Antoni Gaudí between 1904 and 1906. Guests will have time to take in this masterpiece of shape, color and light, then feast on tapas and drinks while enjoying flamenco fusion music provided by Son de Cajon.

In Copenhagen, the famous words "To be, or not to be…" will come to life during A Night at Kronborg Castle Signature Experience featuring this memorable UNESCO World Heritage Site, immortalized by William Shakespeare in "Hamlet." At Kronborg Castle guests will be entertained by actors who provide a history of Shakespeare's famous tragedy, followed by appetizers and beverages.

During A Night Out in Ancient Rome, guests will spend a magical evening at the Casa dei Cavalieri di Rodi (House of the Knights of Rhodes) on a terrace overlooking the Roman Forum. After indulging in appetizers and prosecco, guests will be privy to a private, after-hours tour of Rome's iconic Colosseum by one of the monument's most elite guides.

Venice reigns as one of the world's most magical cities, and during An Evening on the Grand Canal Signature Experience guests will take a motor-launch cruise to the water entrance of a charming, privately owned, 16th-century palace overlooking the city's Grand Canal. In this opulent and historic setting guests will enjoy appetizers, drinks and Venetian music, all in the company of a countess or member of her noble family.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 59.62 + 1.98%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 97.44 + 1.56%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.37 - 0.42
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 50.35 + 2.84%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which famous liner included the Knickerbocker Bar with artwork depicting the evolution of the cocktail?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Over the years many ocean liners and cruise ships has arrived in New York city to be welcomed by fire boats and cheering crowds. What year did Cunard's Queen Elizabeth first visit New York and what made her maiden voyage so special?

Answer - The Queen Elizabeth sailed secretly in March 1940 to New York City, painted in grey. The British government leaked mis-information that she was bound for Southampton. Legend holds that Luftwaffe planes were sortied to sink her there. Scottish workers at the John Brown ship yard were told to report to work with a change of clothes and were informed of their true destination after departure.
courtesy of Ken McCarthy, Miami, FL.


Cruise News - April 17, 2017

Viking Ocean Cruises Orders Two Additional Ships
Viking Ocean Cruises and Fincantieri signed a memorandum of agreement for the construction of two additional cruise ships, with an option for another two. The new builds will be sister ships to the six already ordered and will enter Viking's fleet in 2021 and 2022, respectively. The agreement will be effective subject to financing and other customary closing conditions.

The new ships will follow the same successful and award-winning design as the current ships ordered and in operation. The entire fleet is comprised of all-veranda staterooms; each ship has a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons and accommodates 930 guests in 465 cabins. As with the other sister ships, the new ships will be built according to the latest navigation regulations and equipped with the most modern safety systems, including the “Safe return to port” system.

The first ship built for Viking Ocean Cruises, Viking Star was delivered at the shipyard in Marghera in spring 2015. The second and the third ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, took the sea from the yard in Ancona, respectively, in early 2016 and early 2017. Viking will take delivery of the fourth ship, Viking Sun, in late 2017 and the fifth ship, Viking Spirit, in 2018. A sixth, yet-to-be-named ship will be delivered in 2019, marking Viking as the largest small ship ocean cruise line.

Viking is forecasted to have a dominant market share of the luxury ocean industry in 2020 of 23.9% (on a per berth basis according to Cruise Industry News). The additional vessels will add to this already impressive statistic. "Our guests and the industry have spoken, and they love the ocean ships that we have built with Fincantieri. In our first year of operation we were named the World’s Best Cruise Line by Travel + Leisure, and we are proud of Viking’s dominance in Cruise Critic’s 2017 Cruisers’ Choice Awards, where we won 10 categories, including ‘Best Overall’ and ‘Best for First-Timers,’” said Torstein Hagen. “We set out to bring the destination back to cruising, and the cruising public has responded. These additional ships are needed to meet the demand we are experiencing. Once only known for being the leading river cruise line, we are now equally known for upscale, inclusive ocean cruise experiences. As we celebrate our 20th year of operation in 2017, we are pleased to continue innovating and to introduce even more guests to The Viking Way of exploration.”

"The extraordinary moment of the cruise sector is continuing, and with this announcement Fincantieri reaffirms its worldwide leadership in the segment. The series – which began with the Viking Star prototype – reaches eight ships with these additional units, with the possibility to further grow thanks to the expansion plans of this dynamic cruise company,” said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri. “As the worldwide river cruise leader, Viking decided to enter the ocean cruise segment with a startup together with Fincantieri as shipbuilder, achieving great success. We can but consider this agreement as a strategic and commercial success, which allows us to further strengthen our already excellent partnership with Viking Ocean Cruises."

Carnival and City of Long Beach Start Cruise Terminal Renovations
Carnival Cruise Line marked the beginning of a multimillion-dollar renovation of its Long Beach Cruise Terminal facility to accommodate larger ships and enhance terminal operations. A "FUNstruction" groundbreaking ceremony today included remarks by City of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, President and CEO of Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau Steve Goodling and Carnival Cruise Line Vice President Strategic and Commercial Port Development Carlos Torres de Navarra among others.

Carnival unveiled its design plans for the terminal during the celebration. The renovation will increase the space Carnival currently occupies in the terminal facility from approximately 66,000 square feet to 142,000 square feet. The expansion and new design will allow for a dramatically enhanced passenger experience and operational flow within the terminal. In addition, the project includes the expansion of portside "cold-ironing" to enable larger ships to plug into the local electric grid to reduce exhaust emissions while docked. Further enhancements to the area surrounding the geodesic dome which houses the cruise terminal and the adjacent Queen Mary attraction are also planned.

"The start of construction on this project further cements our commitment to the City of Long Beach and the outstanding relationships we have built with the leaders and people of this community," said Carnival's Torres de Navarra. "Our operations bring tremendous economic benefit to this area and expose hundreds of thousands of people a year to this great city. These new terminal enhancements will further grow that positive impact," he added.

Carnival has run the Long Beach Cruise Terminal — the United States' only privately operated cruise terminal — since 2003. It is one of the busiest terminals in North America, with ships docking at the facility five days per week resulting in a more than 70% utilization rate. Carnival has used just a portion of the geodesic dome that housed Howard Hughes' "Spruce Goose" museum attraction for customs and guest check-in activities. The renovation will make 100 percent of the dome available for Carnival's cruise operations.

"The expansion of the Carnival Cruise terminal is great news for Long Beach and great news for visitors to our city," said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. "The added capacity will bring more tourism and economic activity to Long Beach, and we're pleased to continue working with Carnival for many years to come."

Currently, Carnival operates three ships from the Long Beach Cruise Terminal -- Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Imagination, which offer three- and four-day Baja cruises, and Carnival Miracle which operates week-long Mexican Riviera voyages along with 14- and 15-day cruises to Hawaii and Alaska. In 2018 when the larger Carnival Splendor replaces Carnival Miracle, the line will carry more than 700,000 guests annually from Southern California, operating nearly 250 three- to 14-day cruises a year.

In addition to marking the start of the renovation of the cruise terminal, Torres de Navarra announced a donation of $25,000 to the Mayor's Fund for Education. The donation, made jointly by Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival Foundation, is part of Carnival Corporation's ongoing support for nonprofit educational and charitable organizations in the homeport communities where its brands operate.

Norwegian Cruise Line To Add Lifeguards To Fleet
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that the line will begin employing certified lifeguards at all of the family pools across their fleet. The first responders will be trained and certified by the American Red Cross in lifesaving rescue measures and will monitor the family pools during scheduled pool hours.

The lifeguards will begin service this summer on the line's four largest ships - Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Epic - and on the remainder of the fleet by early 2018.

"Norwegian has stationed pool monitors on our largest ships since 2015 and we are now taking further steps to ensure the safety of our youngest guests with the addition of certified lifeguards across our fleet,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “While parents are always the first line of supervision when it comes to water safety, we felt it was important to provide this added measure across our fleet."

In addition to uniformed lifeguards, Norwegian will also begin offering complimentary swim vests for both adults and children on the line's four largest ships. Parents can obtain the safety vests at the towel station on the ship's pool deck during daytime hours.

New Pop-Up Sushi Venues Added to Four Carnival Cruise Line Ships
Following the success of Bonsai Sushi restaurants on several ships, Carnival Cruise Line has rolled out new pop-up sushi venues on four ships – Carnival Conquest, Carnival Valor, Carnival Liberty and Carnival Glory.

The stand-alone eateries are located on Lido Deck and offer variety of sushi, sashimi and rolls on an a la carte basis. Diners place their order at the counter, given a pager, and then paged when their food is ready.

Sushi and sashimi, including Ebi (shrimp), Sake (salmon), Maguro (tuna) and Hamachi (amberjack), are available for $1.50 per piece. California Rolls and Spicy Tuna Rolls are offered at $5 per roll, with Bang Bang Bonsai Roll and Tempura Roll available at $7.50 each.

Complimentary sushi is also available at the Taste Bar appetizer venue and the Lido Restaurants on select nights and for a fee in the Bonsai Sushi full-service restaurants on Carnival Breeze, Carnival Dream, Carnival Legend, Carnival Pride, Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Vista.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 58.46 + 0.03%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 95.94 - 2.05%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.38 - 0.83
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 48.96 + 0.87%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Over the years many ocean liners and cruise ships has arrived in New York city to be welcomed by fire boats and cheering crowds. What year did Cunard's Queen Elizabeth first visit New York and what made her maiden voyage so special?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the name of the first fully air conditioned cruise/passenger ship?

Answer - The first fully air conditioned cruise/passenger ship(s) were the Constitution and Independence of American Export Lines.
courtesy of Bill Miller, New York, NY.


Cruise News - April 10, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line Extends Cruises To Cuba Through 2018
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it will further extend its offering of weekly roundtrip cruises from Miami to Cuba through 2018, with 33 new voyages. The all-inclusive Norwegian Sky will begin her 2018 Cuba cruise season in March, sailing four-day roundtrip cruises from Miami, with 32 of the cruises to include an overnight stay in Cuba’s historical and culturally-rich capital of Havana, as well as a call on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas. These new cruises will begin on March 26, 2018 and are in addition to the previously announced 30 calls that Norwegian will offer through December 2017. Along with the freedom and flexibility that only Norwegian Cruise Line can provide, guests sailing on Norwegian Sky will also enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages as a part of the ship’s all-inclusive program.

“Cuba is a spectacular destination and we are seeing incredible demand from our guests to experience the beautiful and cultural-rich city of Havana and her warm and friendly people,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are excited to provide even more opportunities for our guests to experience this incredible destination into 2018.”

Norwegian Sky will transport guests to the very heart of Havana, offering guests the opportunity to visit historical sites such as Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; view incredible art and listen to the vibrant local music scene; and visit with Cuba’s warm and friendly residents through people-to-people exchanges. Norwegian will offer a selection of 15 half and full-day OFAC-compliant shore excursions, where guests aboard Norwegian Sky will have the opportunity to have a farm to table dining experience, explore the flora and fauna of Soroa, see modern Havana in an American classic car and much more.

Norwegian Sky’s sailings to Cuba will also feature a call to Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island destination in the Bahamas. Great Stirrup Cay is a private island paradise, with white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, watersports galore and lushly landscaped beachside cabanas available for daily rental for those who wish to have a more exclusive island experience. Great Stirrup Cay was recently enhanced to offer guests exciting new ways to enjoy the island with additional pathways, seating and shaded lounge areas, with additional features still to come, including a private luxury lagoon enclave for suite guests and guests of The Haven.

Norwegian Sky’s four-day cruises to Cuba will open for sale on April 20.

Majestic Princess to Sail From Sydney
Princess Cruises has announced that its latest ship, the Majestic Princess, will be based in in Sydney, Australia, over the 2018-19 summer season. With a capacity of 3,560 guests, the Majestic Princess will be the largest Princess ship to ever sail in Australian waters. The newly launched ship sailed on its inaugural voyage from Italy on April 4, 2017. The Majestic Princess will offer cruises in Europe and China before heading to Sydney, where it will be homeported from September 2018 to March 2019.

During the ship's inaugural Australian season, Majestic Princess will sail on 16 cruises to destinations including Fiji, New Zealand and Tasmania as well as two Asia voyages between Shanghai and Sydney, and Sydney and Hong Kong. Fares start from $1,499 per person twin share for a balcony room on a six-night roundtrip cruise to Tasmania departing November 18, 2018.

Majestic Princess offers 13 dining options, including two restaurants with menus designed by Michelin-star chefs - Harmony by Chef Richard Chen and La Mer by Chef Emmanuel Renaut. The ship also has 1,000 square meters of designer shopping, the cruise line's largest ever thermal suite and the Seawalk, an over-the-ocean glass walkway. Guests can choose from a variety of accommodations including suites, Club Class mini-suites and deluxe balcony rooms, with more than 80 percent of the ship's 1,780 staterooms offering private balconies.

The Majestic Princess deployment is part of Princess Cruises' 2018-19 Australia and New Zealand program, on sale April 13, 2017. The program offers almost 100 cruises on four Princess ships - Majestic Princess, Golden Princess, Sun Princess and Sea Princess - sailing from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle and Auckland over a seven-month period.

Princess Cruises Elevates Sabatini's Italian Trattoria
Celebrating the cruise line's Italian heritage, specialty restaurant Sabatini's Italian Trattoria has been delighting millions of Princess Cruises guests with traditional and innovative cuisine since it first debuted aboard Grand Princess in 1998. Nearly 20 years later, Princess Cruises today unveiled a fleetwide enhancement to its signature restaurant in collaboration with acclaimed Italian Chef Angelo Auriana.

Introducing a fresh new design and menu featuring antipasti and handmade pasta dishes from Chef Auriana, as well as family recipes curated from Italian Princess executive chefs across the fleet, the transformed Sabatini's Italian Trattoria debuts aboard Caribbean Princess following a multi-million-dollar drydock. Recognized as one of the "Best Specialty Restaurants at Sea," the Sabatini locations on Caribbean Princess and Grand Princess will offer the new inspired menu this April, with the newly refreshed menu coming across the fleet in the coming months.

Chef Auriana, Executive Chef and partner at the authentic Italian restaurants, The Factory Kitchen and Officine BRERA, in Los Angeles, is inspired by fresh Northern Italian flavors and childhood roots from his hometown of Bergamo.

"Sabatini's has always been a Princess guest favorite and this new collaboration with Chef Auriana elevates our Italian heritage, continuing our fresh approach to authentic Italian dining," said Mario Siebaldi, Princess Cruises senior vice president guest operations. "Also featuring a beautifully transformed ambience, the new Sabatini's Italian Trattoria will delight new and returning guests alike."

Chef Auriana relies on using old world grains like buckwheat and durum that gives semolina the signature pale yellow color and high-protein strength necessary to hold the shape of house made pasta. Non-traditional ingredients—like mint and marjoram—are also infused to showcase Chef Auriana's contemporary flair.

Offerings include:

• Picagge - marjoram-infused long pasta, white prawns, clams, artichoke pesto, ligurian olive oil
• Tortelloni - mint-speckled pasta, roasted lamb, pecorino crosta nera, cacio e pepe sauce, broccoli rabe
• Pappardelle - wide ribbon pasta, celeriac, nebbiolo-braised beef cheek
• Risotto - vialone nano rice, beets dolce latte, gorgonzola, pistachios
• Torchietti - whole wheat pasta, foraged mushrooms, rosemary oil

"In my hometown of Bergamo, Italy, I was born with an appreciation for the beautiful flavors of Northern Italy that I love to incorporate into my cooking," said Chef Auriana. "Now I'm pleased to share that appreciation through delicious new Sabatini's menu items made fresh daily and served exclusively onboard Princess."

More Princess chefs hail from Italy than any other country and their family favorite recipes are featured on the new menu, including:

• Roman Seafood al Cartoccio - grouper, shrimp, black mussels, scallops, potato, artichoke
• Porchetta - rolled pork belly toscana, fennel seeds, potatoes, spinach, roasted tomato
• Breaded Veal Vallet – marjoram roasted potatoes & artichokes, sun-dried tomato, provolone

The re-envisioned Sabatini's Italian Trattoria features a new interior design that reinforces the fresh dining experiences that await guests. A contemporary look reflects the innovative efforts of the Princess culinary staff, while rustic touches serve as a reminder of the traditional Italian specialties that always have been a Sabatini's hallmark.

A superb all Italian wine menu, iconic Italian cocktails and Limoncello liqueurs are available to complement the menu. A $25 per person cover charge includes a four-course dinner, plus dessert.

Sabatini's Italian Trattoria will soon feature pasta making classes for guests, with more details coming soon.

Crystal's 2017 Holiday Voyages Span The Globe
Discerning travelers seeking to fill their holiday wish lists with global adventures and extra-special touches this December, have half a dozen luxury options to suit their preferences. Aboard Crystal Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises and even Crystal AirCruises, travelers can treat themselves and their loved ones to holiday memories of a lifetime in virtually every region of the globe. In addition to the selection of destinations to explore, Crystal's roster of sleek and elegant vessels hold enriching vacation experiences, whether guests are traveling with large groups or families, or escaping for a romantic holiday for two.

Crystal Symphony – The 16-day "South African Holidays" cruise sails round-trip from Cape Town, marking Crystal's first-ever holiday voyage in Africa. "Big Five" safaris are offered in South Africa and Mozambique, while authentic village feasts and visits highlight the rich culture of the region.

Crystal Serenity – Now offering two embarkation options, which allow travelers to choose between sailing round-trip from Charleston or Fort Lauderdale, as they embark on a 14- or-15-day (respectively) warm-weather "Holidays in the Caribbean" escape from the winter chill.

Crystal Esprit – The 11-day "Crystal Yachting Christmas" packs the spirit of camaraderie and holiday spirit aboard "Crystal's Boutique Hotel on Water," as guests delve into the elite yachting lifestyle in the posh harbors of the West Indies, sailing round-trip from Marigot Bay, St. Martin.

Crystal Mozart – Sailing round-trip from Vienna on a 13-day "Dazzling Danube Celebration," the first and largest of Crystal River Cruises' fleet offers a grand experience in the heart of some of Europe's most festive locales, including Austria, Germany and Hungary.

Crystal Bach – The 10-day "Spectacular Rhine Holiday" offers just that, as the first of Crystal's two brand new river yachts sails from Amsterdam to Basel, calling charming hamlets that exude the festivities and flavors of the season.

Crystal Mahler – The second brand new Crystal river yacht to embark in 2017 will sail a 16-day "Grand Europe" voyage along the Rhine from Amsterdam to Budapest, focusing on the region's quintessentially sparkling holiday markets, boasting freshly-baked pastries, hot ciders, hand-crafted wares and carols wafting from the cathedrals.

Crystal AirCruises – The elaborate 16-day "Holidays Around the World" private jet tour poses the ultimate gift for any luxury traveler, flying aboard Crystal's privately owned Boeing 777 from Los Angeles, calling in Bora Bora, Queenstown, Sydney, Jaipur and Abu Dhabi.

"The holiday season is a wonderful time for families and loved ones to travel together and create new memories that transcend any gift or tangible item," says Crystal CEO & President, Edie Rodriguez. "The Crystal family aboard our vessels creates a sense of home away from home for guests as they share their holidays with us, whether they're returning after many voyages or embarking on a brand new journey."

Aboard all Crystal holiday sailings, guests will be treated to the traditional festivities of the season, including lavish feasts for Christmas and New Year's, and elegant décor throughout the luxury vessels. Multi-faith services will also be offered on board.

Cunard Partners with The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation
In partnership with The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation, Cunard will pay tribute to the forgotten heroes of World War II, honoring our nation's veterans with a unique enrichment program on board Queen Mary 2's Transatlantic Crossing, August 4-12, 2017.

On this 8-night voyage departing from Southampton, England, guests will have the opportunity to attend lectures and interact with several WWII veterans, hearing first-hand about their experiences during America's involvement in the war. From the "Battle of the Atlantic," to the conflicts in Normandy and Pearl Harbor, these distinguished war heroes will engage in discussions and Q&A's, giving guests a very personal glimpse into the human elements of wartime service.

"Cunard played a pivotal role in World War II, with our liners Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth transported as troop ships, and together carried over 1.5 million servicemen across the Atlantic, to and from the field of battle," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "We are honored to partner with The Greatest Generations Foundation to offer our guests this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet these decorated veterans."

Actual WWII veterans scheduled to be on board will include American veterans Arthur Staymates, who stormed Omaha beach in D-Day's first wave with German machine-gun fire hammering on the door of his landing craft; Joseph Reilly, who parachuted into Normandy five hours before the seaborne landing; Douglas Dillard, who made his first parachute combat jump in August 1944 in the South of France; Jack Holder, who was a Naval Flight Engineer stationed on the Island of Oahu and had to take cover during the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor; Michael Ganitch, who served on the USS Pennsylvania and witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor; and Stuart Hedley, also at Pearl Harbor, who recalls leaping from his ship into the water and coming up amid debris and burning oil and swimming for his life towards the shoreline.

Canadian veteran Kenneth Scott, who served in the Royal Canadian Navy and saw wartime action aboard the RMS Aquitania, will also join the voyage. With a normal troop capacity of 7,400, the RMS Aquitania was among the select group of large, fast former passenger ships capable of sailing independently without escort transporting large numbers of troops that were assigned worldwide as needed.

Q&A's and other discussions with the WWII veterans will cover topics including:

• The Battle of the Atlantic: How the Allies Won the War
• Pearl Harbor: An American Sailor's Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor
• The Dead & Those About To Die: The Big Red One At Omaha Beach
• Normandy: D-Day with the Screaming Eagles
• Battle of the Bulge: Alamo in the Ardennes

People In The News
Carnival Corporation announced today that Darrell Campbell joins the company as corporate treasurer, effective April 10, 2017. His responsibilities will include overseeing global treasury operations, risk management, tax compliance and tax strategy. Campbell fills the role currently held by Josh Weinstein, who is transitioning to a new position as president of Carnival UK.

Campbell brings to Carnival Corporation extensive accounting, audit and financial experience. He most recently served as an audit partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, where he led financial statement and internal control audits of Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies with revenues over $10 billion and market capitalization up to $40 billion. During his career he has supervised multinational teams, provided regulatory reporting advice for capital market transactions and periodic filings, and co-authored guidance on industry topics including compliance, accounting and financial reporting.

"Darrell brings us nearly two decades of extensive financial experience, and has the depth of expertise and insights to provide critical leadership for this key global role," said David Bernstein, chief financial officer for Carnival Corporation. Campbell will report to Bernstein and will be based at Carnival Corporation's headquarters in Miami.

Campbell is a licensed CPA in Florida and New Hampshire. He has master's degrees in accounting from Florida International University and in international business from the University of Florida. He also holds a bachelor's degree from University of the West Indies in Jamaica.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 58.44 - 0.48%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 97.95 - 0.26%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.40 - 2.13%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 48.54 - 3.29%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name of the first fully air conditioned cruise/passenger ship?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the name of America's only nuclear powered merchant vessel and how many passengers could she carry? Bonus: Where is she now?

Answer - The ship was the Savannah and she carried 60 passengers.She is currently moored at the Canton Marine Terminal in Baltimore, Maryland.
courtesy of John O'Neil, Miami, FL


Cruise News - April 3, 2017

Majestic Princess Delivered To Princess Cruises
On March 30, 2017, Carnival Corporation took delivery of Majestic Princess, from shipbuilder Fincantieri at an official handover ceremony at the shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. The cruise line's first international luxury ship tailored for the China market, will start her inaugural season in Europe until May and then embark on a repositioning cruise themed the Silk Road Sea Route journey to her new homeport in Shanghai where she will begin her first homeport season in July.

The ceremony was attended by the Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni; executives from Carnival Corporation & plc including Micky Arison, Chairman; Arnold Donald, Chief Executive Officer; Stein Kruse, Chief Executive Officer of Holland America Group; Jan Swartz, Group President of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia; Anthony Kaufman, Executive Vice President International Operations of Princess Cruises; and Cherry Wang, Vice President and General Manager of the Princess Cruises' brand offices in China. Fincantieri was represented by Giuseppe Bono, Chief Executive Officer, and Giampiero Massolo, Chairman.

"Majestic Princess has arrived and we are thrilled to add this new jewel to our crown representing the newest, most stylish and most luxurious flagship to our fleet," said Jan Swartz Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia group president. "We are ready to deliver an exceptional international cruise vacation experience to our guests."

"Fincantieri proudly delivers Majestic Princess today to our long-term partner, Princess Cruises," said Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri's Chief Executive Officer and SEVP Merchant Ships Business Unit ad interim. "The collaboration between Fincantieri, Carnival Corporation & plc and Princess Cruises to tailor Majestic Princess for China makes her special for us. We are proud to deliver this stunningly beautiful luxury cruise liner and highly value the partnership we have with Princess Cruises dating back to the 1980's. We will continue to deliver increasingly sophisticated ships in the future that serve the needs of our partners and their treasured guests."

After the successful handover from Fincantieri, Majestic Princess sets sail on a preview cruise (March 31 to April 4) that will include loyal Princess guests, international media, travel agent partners and brand partners from around the world, including many guests from China.

Departing April 4, 2017, the 143,000-ton Majestic Princess will sail on her inaugural voyage, a five-day Adriatic Sea cruise roundtrip from Rome with stops in Kotor and Corfu. Following her maiden cruise, Majestic Princess will tour Europe, offering guests a chance to experience the ship on 7-, 14-, 21- and 28-day cruises departing from Rome, Barcelona or Athens.

On May 21, Majestic Princess will embark on the "Silk Road Sea Route" a 49-day journey from Rome to Shanghai. During the voyage she will visit a total of 22 ports including Athens, Dubai, Cochin, Singapore, Port Klang and Xiamen before arriving in Shanghai, her new homeport in China. Majestic Princess will begin her first cruise from China on July 11 carrying 3,560 guests to a variety of cruise destinations.

Viking Line has Signed a Shipbuilding Contract
Viking Line announced this week that it has signed a conditional shipbuilding contract with the Chinese company Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry Co. concerning a new passenger cruise ship for the Turku (Finland)–Åland Islands–Stockholm (Sweden) route, delivery in 2020.

A final agreement is subject to the approval of the Board of Directors of both the buyer and the seller, as well as financial arrangements entered. The total contract amount is about 194 million euros. The agreement also includes an option on another vessel.

The new vessel will be a collaborative project, and the plan is to engage several Finnish and other European suppliers. This energy-efficient vessel will be 218 metres in length and have a gross registered tonnage of about 63,000 tonnes. Passenger capacity will be 2,800 people, and the length of its cargo lanes will be 1,500 metres. Environmental considerations and energy efficiency will be very important in planning and building the ship.

Viking Line will hire Scandinavian architects for the interior design. The new vessel will provide a brand-new passenger experience for guests.

Norwegian Jade Journeys To The Caribbean As A Nearly New Ship
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jade sailed into her seasonal homeport of Tampa as an essentially new vessel this morning, following a three week dry dock where she received enhancements to every part of the onboard experience, from two brand new restaurants and two new bars and lounges, updated design and décor in many public spaces, and a refurbishment of all staterooms. Norwegian Jade’s extensive renovation is a part of The Norwegian Edge™, an investment program that sets a high standard of excellence encompassing the entire guest experience across Norwegian’s fleet. Norwegian Jade’s extensive enhancements come just in time for her highly anticipated summer season, the brand’s first ever complete season sailing from Hamburg, Germany to the Norwegian Fjords, with embarkation also available in the UK. “We’re thrilled to welcome Norwegian Jade back into the fleet with her new stylish finishes and modernized onboard atmosphere,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer. “It is our sincere goal to deliver a fantastic vacation experience across our entire fleet, and this update to Norwegian Jade is an opportunity for us to enhance the ship’s hardware to match the fantastic guest experience our hardworking crew delivers to our guests every day.”

Norwegian Jade guests can now enjoy two new restaurants, as well as redesigned spaces in many of the ship’s existing restaurants. Norwegian’s 24-hour neighborhood pub-style restaurant, O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill, has been added to deck eight. Serving up cold brews and snack-time favorites in a relaxed atmosphere, the new venue features modern flooring, refurbished front and back bars and new banquet seating. The Pit Stop, a newly installed concept for Norwegian Jade, will serve up poolside fun and fare in a 1950s-style American diner atmosphere, clad with vintage license plates, gas station signage and classic car elements.

Moderno Churrascaria received a new home on deck 13 and features a new upscale glass door entrance, floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing for stunning panoramic views of the ocean enhanced by new flooring, wall coverings and upgraded furniture. Now, even more Norwegian Jade guests can enjoy Cagney’s Steakhouse, as the ever-popular restaurant has added additional seating to the completely refurbished space, which offers a new color scheme befitting of a classic steakhouse, upgraded flooring, new wall linings and an intimate new virtual fireplace. La Cucina, Norwegian’s signature Italian specialty restaurant, received an elegant modernization with several new features including updated décor and furniture, flooring, a new decorative bar and an impressive wine display wall. Teppanyaki, Norwegian’s Japanese hibachi grill restaurant, was enhanced with updated furnishings and fittings while complimentary favorites Jasmine Garden and the Garden Café also received extensive enhancements including newly designed spaces with upgrades to furniture, new flooring and much more.

Those looking to dance the night away aboard Norwegian Jade can now do so in the chic new Bliss Ultra Lounge on deck seven, which has the feel of an upscale Miami nightclub and features a cool color palette of silvers, greys and black. Guests who wish to indulge in an exotic cocktail can enjoy their favorite mojito, or opt for a flight and try them all, at the new Sugarcane Mojito Bar on deck 13 adjacent to Moderno Churrascaria, a Norwegian fan favorite since the concept debuted on Norwegian Getaway in 2014. Sugarcane features, new granite bar fronts, as well as new furnishings and finishes. Norwegian Jade’s Spinnaker Lounge also received a complete redesign of the entire space to include new flooring and window treatments, decorative chandeliers, reupholstered seating and refurbished bars with contemporary mosaic tiling and LED lighting.

Every stateroom on the ship was enhanced during this renovation, with all receiving new carpets, furniture, flat screen TVs, new larger headboards with USB charging outlets and more than 2000 new pieces of artwork. Guests sailing in The Haven, Norwegian’s ship-within-a-ship luxury suite concept, will now enjoy a more modern chic atmosphere in all suites and villas, as they now feature new finishes to walls and ceilings, new flooring throughout the suites and balconies, plus new soft goods and drapery. Norwegian Jade’s villas and suites also received more than 250 new pieces of artwork alone. Luxury has been taken to the next level aboard Norwegian Jade with a complete refurbishment of the ship’s Haven Courtyard. Guests of the ship’s top villas and suites can soak up the sun in style one of the Haven’s four new plush cabanas nestled at the top of the ship or take a dip in the newly refinished pool surrounded by modern furnishings and new artwork.

The Atrium, the heart of the action on Norwegian Jade, has been enhanced with a refreshed look and décor brought to life with an eye-catching, custom-designed marquee chandelier, as well as new modern finishes in modern calming grey tones, updated flooring, enhanced reception and shore excursion areas, a new large TV screen and relaxed banquette seating so guests can relax in a contemporary lounge atmosphere while enjoying all of the ship’s excitement. Norwegian Jade will also now offers guests easier ways to view and purchase mementos of their cruise vacation with an upgraded Photo Gallery featuring new individual digital monitors and larger photo display panels, along with sleek furniture and tile flooring. The ship’s main pool deck was also touched by this extensive refurbishment, with the addition of glistening new lighting fixtures as well as new flooring and tiling around the pool and whirlpools.

Norwegian Jade now offers fitness enthusiasts the opportunity to work up a sweat with all-new TechnoGym fitness equipment and new rubber flooring, ideal for weightlifting and plyometric workouts. Junior cruisers aboard Norwegian Jade can now enjoy playtime with new floorings in Splash Academy that include new noise reducing mats so kids are free to play into the evening hours. The ship’s elevator landings were also all refurbished with updated interior finishes and flooring, new wall coverings, new carpet and updated light fixtures.

Norwegian Jade is currently sailing the final part of her winter season, cruising from Tampa to the Western Caribbean. On April 30, she will journey across the Atlantic to her summer homeports of Southampton and Hamburg, where she’ll sail the Norwegian Fjords as well as Norway & North Cape itineraries.

Risk Averse Couple Sails on 200th Carnival Cruise
When Bernard and Janice Caffary boarded the Carnival Liberty last week, they stepped into the record books, becoming the first guests to ever sail on 200 cruises with Carnival Cruise Line. What’s even more remarkable is that the risk averse Caffarys achieved this feat in just 15 years, meaning that the couple averages nearly 15 cruises a year with Carnival, making them among the most loyal guests at sea.

Overall the Caffarys have spent a whopping 878 days – more than two and a half years –aboard Carnival Cruise Line ships. And the fun isn’t going to stop any time soon as the couple has another 30 cruises booked with the line.

To commemorate their 200-cruise milestone, the Carnival Liberty team rolled out the red carpet, going all out to make the Caffary’s cruise extra special and memorable.

The VIP treatment began as soon as they arrived in Port Canaveral with welcoming signage throughout the terminal and ship. During the cruise, the Caffarys received a number of commemorative gifts and unique onboard experiences. They were also the guests of honor during special VIP celebrations held both in the ship’s atrium and the main show lounge attended by dozens of Carnival Liberty team members.

Carnival Liberty operates year-round three- and four-day cruises from Port Canaveral.

HAL Names Frits van der Werff Vice President, Food and Beverage
Holland America Line has named Frits van der Werff to the position of vice president, food and beverage within the Guest Experience and Product Development Department. In this role, van der Werff will oversee all of the culinary operations as well as manage beverage operations for the Holland America Line fleet, including revenue activities, product innovation and service.

The Netherlands native, who will be based in Seattle at the Holland America Line headquarters, will report to Michael Smith, senior vice president, guest experience and product development, as well as have reporting responsibilities to Paul Goodwin, executive vice president, onboard revenue and port/shore operations, for Holland America Group.

"Holland America Line is highly respected for the culinary and beverage experiences onboard our ships, and we're thrilled to have someone of Frits' caliber join our team in this leadership role," said Smith. "Frits brings a wealth of high-end food and beverage and cruise experience to our company, and we look forward to tapping into his knowledge and expertise as we continue to evolve our brand and our food and beverage offerings."

Most recently van der Werff was brand performance director at MSC Cruises where he was the project leader for food and beverage and hotel operations in the North American market. Additional cruise line experience includes director, restaurant operations and development at Norwegian Cruise Line.

Van der Werff has extensive experience outside of the cruise industry, having served as director of operations for Fisher Island Club on Florida's most exclusive private island; director of food and beverage for both the St. Regis Resort & Spas in Aspen, Colorado, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and director of food and beverage for One Bal Harbour Resort and Spa in Miami, Florida.

Van der Werff holds a Bachelor of International Hospitality Management degree from Stenden University in the Netherlands.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 58.72 - 0.25%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 97.70 - 1.59%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.35 - 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 50.19 - 1.63%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name of America's only nuclear powered merchant vessel and how many passengers could she carry? Bonus: Where is she now?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Two steamship companies, one still in business and mighty powerful, were named P&O. The "P" for both companies stands for "peninsular". What does the "O" stand for in each name? (The "O" is for a different word for each.)

Answer - The largest passenger ship to ever fly the U.S. flag is Pride of America for NCL.
courtesy of Byron Clayton, Singapore

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